Sunday, August 12, 2007
I recently re-read Kipling's Kim, and I think I've discovered how best to enjoy it. First, recognize that Kipling thought British rule was beneficial, or at least indifferent, compared to rule by other colonizing nations. Second, do not approach the book as "social realism" - that's a fast way to spoil it. Most important, think of the book as a means of getting into Kipling's head - to understand his understanding of British India, and of adventurous boyhood.
In my younger days, I would have said to just consider the story as being set in an alternate universe. Now, I think using that method to suspend disbelief has too many disadvantages.
Note: Besides being a great adventure story, Kim is also considered part of the Western Canon.