14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Stunning Collection,
This review is from: Plain Tales from the Hills (Oxford World's Classics) (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.