Wednesday 1 August 2012

Rudyard Kipling's Tales of Horror and Fantasy - Rudyard Kipling - Book Review

Title: Rudyard Kipling's Tales of Horror and Fantasy
Author: Rudyard Kipling
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: April 2011
Pages: 698
Format: E-Book -PDF
Genre: Horror / Short Stories
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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The complete horror, dark fantasy, and psychological suspense stories of Rudyard Kipling. 

Rudyard Kipling, a major figure of English literature, used the full power and intensity of his imagination and writing ability in his excursions into fantasy. Kipling is considered one of England’s greatest writers, but was born in Bombay. He was educated in England and returned to India in 1882, where he began writing fantasy and supernatural stories set in his native continent: The Phantom Rickshaw, The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes,and his most famous horror story, The Mark of the Beast (1890). This masterwork collection, edited by Stephen Jones (Britain’s most accomplished and acclaimed anthologist) for the first time collects all of Kipling’s supernatural fiction, ranging from traditional ghost stories to psychological horror. (Goodreads Synopsis)

I found it hard to get into this book. To be fair, I've found Kipling a bit heavy going in the past - there's just something about his writing style that puts me off - but when I saw this book of his short stories, I felt it was time to give him a second chance.

Certainly a few of the stories caught my interest and held it, but for the most part I found them too verbose to ever be really chilling. The ideas were there, including a delightful mix of commentary on and borrowing from Indian culture, but Kipling's prose is just so wordy and it's a slog to get through it. I read writers like Tolstoy and Joyce and they, too, can be wordy, but with them it is a pleasure; with Kipling I find it a chore.

That said, a few did entertain me and certainly fans of Kipling would enjoy this extensive anthology of his shorter works, so I give it three stars over all: not quite my cup of tea, but a lovely collection for a fan.

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