Synopsis

 

In choosing to give us the succeeding adventures of Kipling's Kim, Mr Murari has set his sights high. As well as the excellence of the source, there is ranged against the enterprise the weight and accomplishment of Raj literature in general. But such is the drive of the narrative and such is the author's feeling for his native country, that the reader is borne pleasurably along. When in addition we get the complications of torn loyalties in the lives of the adult Kim and of his emergent country, this becomes a very considerable and entertaining novel. THE INDEPENDENT, London
-There’s a fascinating blend of magic and mysticism, religion and philosophy, history and legend and rumblings from men destined to lead the sub-continent to independence. SUNDAY EXPRESS, London
Turn of century India, with its underlying tumult, has been brilliantly and vividly captured, fiction being woven into fact seamlessly. For anyone who ever wondered what happened to Kim, this is a must read. PEOPLE
Some lovely writing and research about a corner of history not nearly explored enough in Indian writing in English. Pick a long weekend to read it from cover to cover. VERVE
-This novel conjures up a quietly vivid panorama of Indian life.-THE GUARDIAN
-Timeri N. Murari’s novel takes off from where Rudyard Kipling left of in his classic. Kim. Kimball O’Hara, the orphan of Kipling’s book, has nowgrown up and is a British secret agent in an India that is spiralling towards independence. Kim, torn between his upbringing as a native Indian and his ‘gora’ blood, is the quintessential wanderer, working for the Colonel who treats him like a second son. He, unwittingly, causes an innocent Indian to be killed and another to be jailed. The novel is about him trying to set that wrong to right, enroute falling in love with Mohini aka Parvati, who is running away from a cold marriage to a much older Rai Bahadur. Magic realism in the tradition of Marquez infiltrates the novel with mythological references to Vamana, the dwarf incarnation of Vishnu, Jatayu, the vulture king, mystical experiences co-exist with the sensuality of lust.
    This is a Kim the reader takes time to adjust to, but follows breathlessly through his journeys from Shimla to Bombay and back to the northern plains of India, with the narrative spinning off to include the lives of the Colonel and his daughter Elizabeth. Turn of century India, with its underlying tumult, has been brilliantly and vividly captured, fiction being woven into fact seamlessly. For anyone who ever wondered what happened to Kim, this is a must read. PEOPLE
India in the early years of the century provides a gigantic, colourful and wondrous backcloth for Murari’s exciting sequel to Kipling’s ‘Kim’. There’s fascinating blend of magic and mysticism, religion and philosophy, history and legend and rumblings from men destined to lead the sub-continent to independence – Gandhi, Nehru, Joshi, Jinnah.. SUNDAY EXPRESS (London).
-Murari's skill lies in his choice of details, psychological details, which act as a trigger that will bring down the whole edifice of the Raj. What is fascinating is the way he tells his story, not by historical facts and dates alone, but by sounds and smells and texture and taste, and of things felt in the blood. INDIAN EXPRESS
-Murari skilfully blends the stories of two clashing cultures to produce a well-rounded and thought-provoking book. BRISTOL ILLUSTRATED.
KIM’S NEW GAME
KIPLING’S HERO IS ALL GROWN UP AND IN A NEW INDIA
For those who followed Kim on his great India adventure, it is a chance to get on the road with him once again. And for those who haven’t gone on that road before, here’s a chance to get acquainted with him.
    Rudyard Kipling’s boy-hero returns all grown up in Timeri N. Murari’s The Imperial Agent, in an India taking its first tentative steps towards swaraj and nationalism. The novel, first published in 1987, captures the events unfolding in India at the turn of the last century that signalled the beginning of the end of the British empire.
    In Murari’s novel, Kim is still a British spy in the employment of the powerful Colonel but the rules of the Great Game just got more complex and the bazaar rumour darker. Lahore is missing in this new landscape but Simla and the dusty plains of India remain the backdrop against which the new adventure plays out. As in Kim so in The Imperial Agent, the road adventure is an opportunity to show India and its people, a country where daily realities merge effortlessly with mysticism. But this time the great Indian show is seen through Indian eyes.
    In this sequel, Kim is not the only one who has grown up. The themes explored in Kipling’s Kim mature in Murari’s deft hands. The free spirited Kimball O’Hara’s love for India and its people gain poignancy here as the divided loyalties twist deeper and the question of identity gets more urgent. The Irish boy who grew up native has to make a final choice between India and its imperial masters. “His friend had died, and so had many others, all because an alien power wished to continue ruling his country. India was changing. Her long sleep was ending. How much longer could the Colonel and men like him continue to control India’s destiny? Kim knew that one day their time would come, that they would cross the kala pani and never return. He had changed, as had so many Indians who no longer wanted to be ruled by the British.”
    Apart from identity and nationalism, Murari touches on other themes as well. Kipling’s Kim didn’t have women in a starring role but in The Imperial Agent, women often take the story forward and also show the common invisible lines that limit all women, Indian or European.
    The Imperial Agent ends with a reference back to Kipling’s Kim and with the promise of a resurrection. “Kim knew his own story had yet to end. He had chosen his side and would now have to play the Great Game against the Colonel, the man he had loved as a father. Kim also knew he would have to continue his wanderings across India in search of those arrows which marked the turning points of his life; just as his dear Lama had searched for a mythical river, so he would search for arrows which did not exist, except in his vision.”
    Murari keeps his promise. Kim’s adventures continue in The Last Victory in which he meets Gandhi, among other national heroes. INDIAN EXPRESS