Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Concluding Life's Handicap


"Little Tobrah": a story about a child of the sort we have learned to call a slumdog. This one has pushed his blind sister down a well because he didn't have anything to feed her with

"Moti Guj- Mutineer": an amusing tale about an elephant- pointing forwards, I suppose, to The Jungle Books.

"Bubbling Well Road": there's something very nasty in the long grass. You would be best advised not to go in.

"The City of Dreadful Night": essentially journalism- a sketch of Lahore by night.

"Georgie Porgie": a selfish bastard deserts his native wife for an English rose. The spurned wife- in her ignorance- searches all over India for him. Kipling's sardonic wit saves it from sentimentality. As an heir to the high Victorians, Kipling was terrified of sentimentality.

"Naboth": a not very likeable "fable" about relations between a sahib and the enterprising native who sets up shop on the outskirts of his property.
"The Dream of Duncan Parrenness": a sort of A Christmas Carol in reverse. Interesting in that it sees Kipling attempting a pastiche- not all that successfully- of an 18th century prose style.

So that's that.

Summing up is tricky. This isn't a unified collection. A very young writer is ranging about, seeing what he can do, testing his limits. He finds that his limits are set very far out.  He can do comedy and tragedy- and has a master's ability to mix them up together. The voice- the authorial voice- is very strong- aloof, dry, omniscient, revelling in language- so strong that at times it verges on the annoyingly smug. There are 27 stories, one of which is a dud and five of which are masterpieces. 

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