Kim (1901) by Rudyard Kipling

The classics are "classics" because they are written in a style that is no longer preferred.

cg fewstonKim by Rudyard Kipling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kim (1901) by Rudyard Kipling is one of those rare books that last through the decades but would never be published as a ‘new’ novel in modern times.

cg fewston

Often I find that the classics are “classics” because they are written in a style that is no longer preferred; ‘classics’ does not mean ‘great’ but, perhaps, means ‘old and forgotten’. None the less, rather an outdated classic or not, Kim was an enjoyable read.

cg fewston
Joseph Rudyard Kipling, British Novelist (1865-1936)

The story of Kim (Kimball O’Hara) is one of adventure and history, set in India around the time between the 2nd and 3rd Afghan Wars and at a time when Russia and Great Britain conflicted their presence and control in Central Asia.

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Early on, Kim, as a young orphan on the street in Lahore, befriends the Tibetan Teshoo Lama, who is seeking the River (or also known as the ‘River of the Arrow’ upon the “Road” — a hint of Cormac McCarthy there).

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Kim’s father was once in the British army, and so Kim makes his way to a regiment, through the Lama’s guidance and that of a horse dealer named Mahbub Ali, and with the help of an old prophecy Kim has remembered as ‘the red bull in a green field’.

Kim gains his formal education, after already being educated upon the streets, and his future is mapped and outlined by Colonel Creighton for aid in helping to work both sides of the fence, the Indian public and the British army, as what is known as the Great Game, or the secret intelligence conspiring in India at the end of the 19th century.

Most of the book is set in dialogue, and even so can make for a difficult read since the characters who are speaking are set in a time and place that no longer exist and has not existed in over a century. Nevertheless, once Kipling’s cadence is picked up the story gives birth to a culture and region that is still quite fascinating.

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In the end, however, the book does focus a great deal on the lama despite Kim being the protagonist and holding the eponymous title. As for the plot and action, there is not much compared to modern novels, but there is a spiritual essence that fills the pages and one can only hope that the best, regardless of the awful circumstances, will come to the lama and Kim.

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A recommended read simply because it is a cherished classic. But what does that mean anymore when readers thrive for simplicity? If seeking simplicity, turn away. If seeking a story told true, then by all means, open the book cover and begin on page one.

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cg fewston


cg fewston

The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a been member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also a been Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London.

He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Fathers Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), The Mystics Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), Little Hometown, America (2020); A Time to Forget in East Berlin (2022), and Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being (2023).

Forthcoming: The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.

cg fewston

He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.

You can follow the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 470,000+ followers

cg fewston


“Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.”

“Fewston employs a literary device called a ‘frame narrative’ which may be less familiar to some, but allows for a picture-in-picture result (to use a photographic term). Snapshots of stories appear as parts of other stories, with the introductory story serving as a backdrop for a series of shorter stories that lead readers into each, dovetailing and connecting in intricate ways.”

~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“The American novelist CG FEWSTON tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello.”

“In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the ‘purity’ of art, the ‘corrupting’ influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.”

~ Lone Star Literary Life

GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction

FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)

“Fewston’s lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood…. the narrator movingly conveys and interprets the greater meanings behind childhood memories.”

“The novel’s focus on formative childhood moments is familiar… the narrator’s lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.”

~ The BookLife Prize

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cg fewston

American Novelist CG FEWSTON


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