War Stories and Poems by Rudyard Kipling (1990)

An excellent Oxford University Press collection edited by Andrew Rutherford, showcasing Kipling’s fictional and poetic responses to three distinct military eras: the small wars of the Late Victorian period 1889-1899 the Boer War 1899-1902 the Great War 1914-18. Despite setbacks and defeats, in the first period nobody doubted the duty of Empire to expand and […]

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (1902)

There are twelve Just So stories for children – and any reader needs to remember that they’re aimed at very little children. Also that they are meant to be read aloud. Charles Carrington’s biography of Kipling quotes his children’s cousin, Angela Mackail, who remembered Kipling’s reading style: The Just So Stories are a poor thing in print […]

The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories by Rudyard Kipling (1888)

In 1888 Kipling published Plain Tales from the Hills, 40 brief stories which put him on the map as a chronicler of Anglo-India. In the same year he published six more slim volumes of stories – an explosion of output – and all before the age of 23! This cheap Wordsworth paperback contains all the […]

Rudyard Kipling: The Best Short Stories

It’s always puzzled me that if you look for Kipling’s great masterwork, there isn’t one. The Light That Failed is an unsuccessful novel about an artist who goes blind; Stalky and Co is an unpleasant collection of stories about beastly chaps at prep school; Captains Courageous is a boys’ adventure yarn; the Jungle and Just So books are for […]

The Complete Short Stories of Evelyn Waugh

Waugh was a professional writer from the year he published his first short story in 1926 till his death in 1966. During that period he published some 26 short stories. There are several editions of his collected short stories, notable the Everyman one and the Penguin one. I read the Penguin one but the Everyman […]

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch (1998)

‘Hutus must stop having mercy on the Tutsis.’ Eighth of the Hutu Ten Commandments published by Hutu Power propagandist Hassan Ngeze in 1990 (page 88) Disappointment Simon’s law of book-buying states that the more you spend on a book, the more likely you are to be disappointed. Nothing has brought me as much pleasure as […]

The Voices of Time and Other Stories by J.G. Ballard (1962)

‘These are the voices of time, and they’re all saying goodbye to you…’ The Voices of Time (1960) In an interview Ballard said The Voices of Time is his most characteristic short story, not necessarily the best, but the one which ticks off most of his obsessions. It is about entropy, decline and fall, on […]

Collected short stories of Somerset Maugham volume two

‘It’s rather a long story. I’m afraid it’s not a very nice one and I find it rather difficult to tell. I’m going to ask you not to interrupt me, or to say anything, till I’ve finished.’ (The Force of Circumstance) William Somerset Maugham’s collected short stories were published in four volumes by Penguin in […]

The Muse Among the Motors by Rudyard Kipling

‘A series of verses on motoring and motorists, in the form of parodies in the style of earlier writers’ a) Kipling was an early enthusiast for motor cars from the moment his friend, the newspaper tycoon Lord Harmsworth, arrived at his Sussex home in one in 1900. He quickly bought a very early model – […]

Charles Carrington on Kipling’s verse (1955)

Charles Carrington’s biography of Kipling is a masterpiece, not only of privileged research (he had access to family papers and diaries which were later destroyed, as well as close advice from Kipling’s only surviving child, Elsie, b.1896) but of balance and careful judgment, and with wonderfully evocative passages of its own. For a whole generation […]