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Plain Tales from the Hills Audio, Cassette – September, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-1878427403 ISBN-10: 1878427407
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set principally in Shimla, the mountain town and summer capital of the Raj, Kipling's 40 short stories on the manners and mores of British settlers in India are well observed and masterful character studies. Martin Jarvis begins beautifully; his warm voice is a rich and textured instrument, and he becomes Kipling's narrator effortlessly; rather like Fitzgerald's Nick Carraway, Kipling's stand-in casts a camera-like view on the intrigue, pettiness, and genuine tragedies in his little world. There is wit that borders on the Wildean (She was wicked, in a businesslike way. There was never any scandal; she had not generous impulses enough for that). It would be a nearly flawless listen—but for Jarvis's inaccurate and rather cringe-inducing accents for the Indian characters. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

"Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known."  —Henry James


"A prophet of British imperialism."  —George Orwell


"As the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognized as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced.  That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with."  —Douglas Kerr, author, George Orwell


"These stories are the best account of the nature of the Victorian Raj ever written."  —Griff Rhys Jones, actor and editor, The Nation's Favourite Twentieth Century Poems
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Cpg Inc Audio (September 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878427407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878427403
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 4.5 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,801,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Winefield on August 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to recall the halcyon days of my secondary schooling in the years 1957 - 61. Then the book was an assigned text for all students in English in New Zealand. The language and the concepts were then frankly beyond the comprehension of 15 year olds. As I grew older, I became aware of the position Kipling held in the Late Victorian era, and the period following the end of the First World War.

I came to understand a little of what the British Empire meant in those times, and the great debt owed by the world to the British Army which subdued Iraq, Pakistan, and the Indian Continent for almost 200 years.

Without the benefit of the bomb, with a tiny armed service, and a desire to provide fair and equitable government, the Raj governed fearlessly through the efforts of the thirds sons of many of the great English Families, while the fourth sons provided the humanity of the Church. Patterns we could well emulate again today!

This was bread and butter to Kipling. In his early years as a huge supporter of the system, as a spiritualist after the death of his son in the First World War, and in his later years as the designer of the huge Military Cemetaries established in France and Belgium after the War to the Empire's dead, he truly became in his own words a "Builder of the Silent Cities".

In 2006, the concepts of his writings are remote from many. In terms of the trials of people, and their attempts to rise over their circumstances through a sense of duty and moral propriety, Kipling's works are without peer. For those starting out to discover him, start with "Stalky and Company", and move to this book, and his other works as extended learning.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By mercy_donovan@hotmail.com on March 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My copy has 36 stories, but Kipling's Plain Tales tells about life in British-occupied India from every imaginable angle. It's touching, it's funny, and at times it's unbelievably sad. Don't let the author put you off, this is a highly readable book. My personal favorites are "Thrown Away" and "Beyond the Pale", but be careful; they're sad.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
Rudyard Kipling writes concisely and with great insight on a wide range of issues. With each story only taking up a few pages the depth of characterisation is superb. 'The gate of one-hundred sorrows' is one of the finest short stories ever written.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patrick W. Crabtree VINE VOICE on October 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Here we have a compendium of forty-two brief (3-8 pages each) tales of Colonial life, and originally targeted for those already familiar with an existence in India. Most of these charming stories were originally published in the Lahore "Civil and Military Gazette" (1888) but Kipling subsequently revised the tales (1890, as "Plain Tales from the Hills"), injecting them with more of the details and flavours of India so that the folks back in England could cognitively read of the Empire in the East.

Featured are highlights of the lives of the British soldiers in late 19th-Century (Colonial) India as well as those of their wives, lovers, Indian associates, and even their horses. Kipling punctuates levity and outrageous behavior with sorrow and humility. He knew quite truly that one cannot cast shadows without light.

Kipling's writings are much akin to tales scribed by eastern European and Middle-Eastern Arab and Persian authors: ergo, he told each of his stories as the details entered his head with an eye to the journey rather than to the destination. Here you will find an odd mesh of the subtle wit of Anatole France ( A Mummer's Tale / The Red Lily (The Irresistible Stories of Anatole France series, Vol. 6) ) meshed with a Dostoyevsky-ish slant on man's dark side (The Brothers Karamazov.) These encounters are all quite savory and gratifying to the avid reader of classic literature.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Rubin on January 9, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
The stories are wonderful. I've read a decent amount of Kipling and am always pleased to find more of them. This particular collection contains a bunch of really charming tales that range from funny through tragic. These types of short stories remind me why I love Kipling so much. As with all Kipling, it's worth noting that he was a product of his time and some of his writing could be considered offensive to the modern reader.

This particular Kindle version is quite good with proper formatting and few if any typos. My only complaint (and only reason that this lacks a full 5 stars) is the lack of hyper-links in the Table of Contents. This makes it very difficult to jump to specific short stories.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I happen to be a great fan of Kipling and after having exhausted some of the more famous pieces like "Kim" and "The Man who Would be King" this was another great trek through the India of Kipling's imagination and reality. That being said, this is not great as an introduction to Kipling but primo if you want more of the same type of story for which Kipling is famous.
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