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The Jungle Books (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – May 3, 2005
Pierced by the Sun
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Top Customer Reviews
I have never described a book in quite this way: 1. It has power. The narrative is powerful in and of itself. 2. It has beauty. It is beautifully written, the choice of words just right, the narrative flows smoothly in each story.
Normally, in some other book that has animals conversing with one another, we would have to consciously suspend judgment about this unheard of phenomenon and just say to ourselves, well, animals don't talk, as such, but we'll pretend they do for the sake of the story.
But The Jungle Books are so interesting and believable that not for one second did I doubt that the animals could in fact have the conversations as set forth in the book. To me, as the reader, it was perfectly natural to read "animal dialogue", and I found this striking: i.e. that I was hardly even aware that there was anything unusual about putting words in the mouth of beasts. The narratives are extremely realistic.
This is how powerful this collection of stories is. It actually transcends the issue of believability and/or likelihood of a particular thing happening or not-----it is a collection of stories quite unlike any other. I don't think there is another collection of stories like this, not with this high quality.
I highly recommend this collection of stories, First and Second Jungle Books.
Without a doubt one of the very best works I've ever read, and I read probably 40 or 50 books each year.
I was not aware how much Disney altered the original material. Mowgli is so much more than a whiny git. Kipling's Mowgli is very much a proto-Conan. Kipling is more of a master of the action scene than Robert E. Howard, and the influence seems clear to me. Another clear influence is the discussion of civilization versus barbarism within the Jungle Book stories. Kipling presented a subtle view making it clear that neither is a clear winner. This debate of civilization versus barbarism is one that Lovecraft and Howard continued in their correspondence and stories.
I really loved most of the Mowgli stories, particularly considering they were way more violent than I expected. Kaa's Hunting presents the original kidnapping of Mowgli by the monkeys, and his rescue is tense and bloody. It also includes an amusing lesson in the importance of learning one's school lessons. The King's Ankus has a very interesting take on the "barbaric" view on treasure, and also the value of leaving entombed treasure lie.
My favorite of the non-Mowgli stories included Rikki Tikki Tavi as well as The Undertakers. Rikki Tikki Tavi is a favorite from my childhood, and I was unaware that it was a Jungle Book story until my recent excursion. This one holds up amazingly well, as the action is well paced and the tension is gripping. In addition, Rikki is not a British colonialist in a mongoose suit. Rikki is Mongoose. The people are almost peripheral to the story, and are almost, but not quite, a macguffin in order to provide Rikki with opportunities to kick some serious snake ass. The Undertakers has some seriously dark and subtle humor. The eponymous characters are all self-important carrion eaters. Their braggadocio storytelling ends in delightfully macabre justice.
The story "The White Seal" is about Aleuts coming to Novastoshnah every year and skinning hundreds of seals. The only white seal ever born on the island, Kotick, wants to find a new island to stay on, so that the people will not know where to look for the seals. This way no more seals will be killed. Kotick wanders for many years in search of a new island to live on. Once he finds one, he goes back to tell the rest of his herd, but they don't believe him. He challenges one of the other males to a fight and if he wins, they will go with Kotick to the new island. In the end, all the other seals die because none of them would go with him, so he taught them all a lesson.
In "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", a curious mongoose wanders into a garden. He meets a cobra named Nag.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
They don't seem to require reading classic literature in the schools any more, so I decided to build a library for my 12-year old granddaughter. Read morePublished on October 30, 2008 by Alexander Kogan