10 August 2011

Book Review: The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling

I think if you are going to be called Rudy, Rudyard is a much better name than Rudolph.

Sigh. What to say about this one? In this story of two British "ne're-do-wells" who attempt to create their own kingdom in Afghanistan can be found fodder for those who find Kipling jingoistic as well as those who find him to be shining the light on the evils of imperialism. But in either case I just didn't care. I was perpetually confused by the protagonists' dialect and the smattering of non-English words. In the best of circumstances I don't much like books written in dialect, and in this case it took a much too hale and hearty tale and made it far more annoying.

The Verdict: I can appreciate this for what it is, but I didn't enjoy it for one moment. I don't see much Kipling in my future unless it comes in cake form.



  1. But this is one of my most favourite films ever!!!
    never mind
    thanks for sharing

  2. Try "Plain Tales from the Hills" before you give up on him...
    it's collection of short stories, not a difficult read and well worth it..see what you think.

    Anyone named after a lake deserves a second chance poor chap :0)



  3. I read "The Man Who Would be King" a few days ago-Kipling is the anti poster boy for readers of colonial era fiction set in Asia-some of the sentences in this story were were done and the invocation of how the area might have felt to Englishmen was interesting-

  4. Martine: I think I could like a film based on this novella, but didn't enjoy reading it.

    Val: I will have to look into that.

    Mel: Sounds like you liked it more than me.

  5. Have you read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand? I just started it last night; co-incidentally Kipling keeps coming up in the characters' reading.
    Also, there was a horrible old British joke (perhaps a Punch cartoon?)that went something like:
    Gentleman: Do you like Kipling?
    Offended spinster: Sir! I've never been kippled.

  6. I did read Major Pettigrew. It was a fun read.


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