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Quest for Kim: In Search of Kipling's Great Game

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    From manuscript title KIM O' THE 'RISTHI to just plain KIM

    Peter Hopkirk's 1006 QUEST FOR KIM - IN SEARCH OF KIPLING'S GREAT GAME is a very useful book to have on hand. When? When you are either reading the Nobel Prize winner's 1901 novel KIM or watching a couple of filmed versions of that picaresque little tale of a young Irish lad torn between Buddhist sanctification and becoming a career spy for the Raj in the "Great Game" Victorian cold war with Russia. *** THE QUEST FOR KIM moves along on three levels: (1) author Peter Hopkirk tells chronologically his research and travel retracing the places and fictional persons described in Kipling's novel; (2) he also retells in the novel's order the principal scenes of KIM, in case you have not read or have forgotten the book; and (3) Hopkirk presents his evidence for the real places behind the original Wonder House in Lahore, Lurgin Sahib's jewelry shop in Simla and the models for Kim, Mahbub Ali, Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, the lama and other immortals from KIM. *** Janina Slater's black and white illustrations and map adorn Hopkirk's text. This is a book worth reading. *** Let me conclude this review with a few sentences from QUEST FOR KIM. "As for the character of Kim, however, all that Kipling is prepared to tell us is that the idea came to him in the summer of 1892, before being shelved for a while. 'I had a vague notion,' he wrote years later in SOMETHING OF MYSELF, 'of an Irish boy, born in India and mixed up with native life. I went as far as to make him the son of a private in an Irish battalion, and christened him KIM OF THE 'RISHTI -- short, that is, for Irish.' Indeed KIM O' THE 'RISHTI is the title at the top of his original manuscript. Today this is to be found in the British Library, and it was there that my journey into the world of Kim really began" (Ch. 1, "Who Was Kim?") -OOO-

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