Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and frightening, 15 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Strange Tales (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
Jungle book this ain't, but a collection of complex, terrifying and often very moving short stories by the first British (and still the youngest) recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The stories can be broken down into three categories if you like: Tales of the supernatural, disturbing psycho-dramas and Edwardian entertainments. Of the first, the best are set amongst forgotten young men at the fringes of empire - lost in an alien continent and exposed to conditions and superstitions they cannot or will not try to understand. These tales involve lycanthropy, lost villages of the damned, ghost legions of murdered horsemen, hideous blind, crying things in the cellar and unquiet corpses in the roof. Some of these are truly scary, but it is Kipling's ability to generate atmosphere and convey psychological upheaval that is striking. Some of the stories set in Europe are deeply moving. Kipling's life was blighted with tragedy - his daughter died at a young age and his son was killed in the Great War. "They", in which the narrator accidentally uncovers a country house populated by the ghosts of dead children,"Mary Postgate", which is basically a premonition of what it would be like to lose a child in war, and " A Madonna of the Trenches", written a few years after his son's death, are almost unbearably poignant.

Get beyond the "poet of Empire" tag often lazily associated with Kipling and you can understand why he was lauded in his day as the successor to Dickens. Comparisons with Hardy and James may have been more appropriate.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jan 2011 12:39:00 GMT
Octo7 says:
I take it you've never read Jungle Book then, it certainly nothing at all like the Disney film. It's quite complex , quite moving, and in places; quite terrifying.
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