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Plain Tales from the Hills (Aziloth Books) Paperback – 23 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Aziloth Books (23 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908388730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908388735
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 765,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay in December 1865. He returned to India from England shortly before his seventeenth birthday, to work as a journalist first on the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, then on the Pioneer at Allahabad. The poems and stories he wrote over the next seven years laid the foundation of his literary reputation, and soon after his return to London in 1889 he found himself world-famous. Throughout his life his works enjoyed great acclaim and popularity, but he came to seem increasingly controversial because of his political opinions, and it has been difficult to reach literary judgements unclouded by partisan feeling.

Product Description

Review

'These wonderfully observed stories, woven round the lives of the Anglo-Indian community in the 1880s, expose the frailties of this quintessentially British society.' --The Good Book Guide, August 2008. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Rudyard Kipling, (1865-1936), English short-story writer, novelist and poet. Kipling was the first Englishman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (1907). His most popular works include The Jungle Book (1894) and the Just So Stories (1902), both children's classics though they have attracted adult audiences also. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Twist on 30 July 2011
Format: Paperback
In India there are the Plains and there are the Hills (the Himalayas, I believe). So there is something of a pun carried in the title "Plain Tales from the Hills".

You could not wish to find forty more varied and penetrating stories about Anglo/Indian society under the Raj, than these. Kipling was an "insider" and the stories provide a brilliant series of windows into the social life of Simla, the summer capital of the Indian Empire. Besides this, they touch upon a very wide range of subjects, including suicide, (implied) transvestism, opium addiction and infant mortality; love variously lost, found and misplaced; charlatanry, sportsmanship and the supernatural.

Kipling was twenty when he began writing them, and twenty-two when they were published in collected form. They were written in the latter half of the 1880s, when he was working as an assistant editor for the "Civil and Military Gazette" in Lahore, north-western India (now Pakistan). It was this journalistic experience which brought him into daily contact with all sorts and conditions of life in India, and it was in the CMG (a daily newspaper) that these stories were first published, in the form of a series.

Together, the "Plain Tales..." make for a stunning collection.

The "Oxford World's Classics" edition is especially useful. It carries an excellent Introduction and General Preface by Andrew Rutherford, a chronology of Kipling's life, and good Explanatory Notes for the Indian terms which the reader will encounter in the text.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Marku on 8 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was surprised to see some of the other reviewers' comments. To be honest I hadn't realised that it was an abridged version, but as I bought it simply to enjoy rather than for any teaching or other purpose, this didn't detract from the enjoyment.

I have been living in the Indian sub-continent for a while now and I found that these super tales transported me back to a bygone era. Familiar with some of the places mentioned perhaps helped in allowing my imagination to run along freely.

Kipling has a certain old-fashioned style of writing which some will find charming but that perhaps some might find slightly difficult - personally I enjoyed it and felt that it added to the atmosphere of the tales.

Look at the advice of some of the other reviewers, but from my perspective if you simply want a very pleasant book for your own enjoyment, to stir your imagination and to amuse you, I very definitely do recommend this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By fabrice on 29 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kipling has been criticised for jingoism. I can only imagine that his critics had never read this collection of short stories. He is the (first person)narrator of these vivid vignettes of life in the British Raj, which gives them an intimate quality as if he were confiding them to you over a whisky and soda at the club on a hot Indian night. His voice is sane and practical and humane and the strong message is that we are all capable of envy, weakness and greed but also of loyalty, courage and disinterested love. Nothing is impossible or shocking for him, even the supernatural. He makes no judgements but presents the facts and asks you what you make of it all.

Above all he is a masterly story teller and before you are aware, under cover of the fascinating account, he has presented you with a phrase or an image or an idea which you never forget.

This is an excellent introduction to his work and if it leaves you hungry for more I suggest you read 'Kim' and "Stalky and Co' (surely the suavest ever schoolboys) and his remarkable short stories set in England which are as illuminating of the era as Plain Tales is of the Raj.

If this is your first time with Kipling, I envy you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Dunn on 12 April 2015
Format: Paperback
Kipling comes with some challenging baggage but he remains undoubtedly a great and entertaining writer, particularly in the short story form as in this collection. So what do we have in this collection? The central theme of course is colonial India, and mainly one specific geographic area, Simla, which Kipling had spent several periods of leave in. A number of the stories are also connected by several characters that appear or are referenced in more than one tale.

However, while connected by theme and characters, the nature of the tales varies considerably. There are; comedies; morality tales; sad stories; maudlin tales, a supernatural yet comedic yarn; and one moment of sudden horror. A great read which makes me glad that I have more Kipling short stories waiting in my to be read plies.

NB reviews for a number of different editions of this collection appear to be grouped here. The edition I read was the Penguin Popular Classics ISBN 0140620923 version and it is unabridged unlike some editions mentioned here.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
A fascinating collection of short stories from Rudyard Kipling, set and published during the time of the British Raj in India; a time of subalterns and tea planters, tiffin, picnics, riding and shooting, of bands playing, "The Roast Beef of England" and a government which never forgets and NEVER forgives, all played out under an unforgiving sun.
Every emotion is covered in this series of forty tales which reveal the deceit, faithlessness, shallowness, despair, mistrust, hate and petty jealousies rife among the British inhabitants of 'stations', 'Town' and 'Club' across India. Never mind the damn natives it's the damn rulers who need watching.
In 'The Rescue of Pluffles' we learn of an engaged subaltern called Pluffles who 'trusting to his own judgement' embarked on a foolish relationship with a Mrs Reivers, until the formidable Mrs Hauksbee (Mrs Reivers sworn enemy) embarked on, and won, the 'Seven Weeks War' to win him over 'for his fiancee'. The theme in this story is similar to the one in "Three and - an extra" where this time it is Mrs Hauksbee who attempts to "annex" a wayward husband, but fails, as his wife wins him back by....well....just by, "carrying herself superbly" at a dance and making the husband realise what a fool he was being.
In 'Thrown Away' we learn of the tragic tale of a young subaltern who had been brought up under the 'sheltered life system' and as such in an India where 'one must not take things too seriously' according to Kipling, he did just that, being a sensitive boy. The result was that the young man shot himself. The tragedy turns to comedy as Kipling and a Major discover the body and set about covering the suicide up.
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