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This review is from: Plain Tales from the Hills (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
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.