Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Phantom Rickshaw by Rudyard Kipling


"The weather in India is often sultry, and since the tale of bricks is always a fixed quantity, and the only liberty allowed is permission to work overtime and get no thanks, men occasionally break down and become as mixed as the metaphors in this sentence."

The Phantom Rickshaw is a short story written by Rudyard Kipling and published in 1888 as a part of a collection called The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales.

Set in Simla, a popular tourist destination in British India, the story is a first person account of a man named Jack who is haunted by his past. Literally.
This is undoubtedly one of the best ghost stories I have read. The story was slightly weak in places, but I loved how realistically the supernatural element is presented. I also liked the writing style; the combination of witty and eerie. You can (and you should!) read it here.

Short Stories on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme (and the one thing I have to thank for my growing fascination with short stories) hosted at Risa's Bread Crumb Reads.

5 comments:

Sophia said...

I think there's a few of us who have been converted to the charms of the short story by Risa's meme. I can hardly wait for Wednesday's to see what I might read. Kipling is a great idea - I haven't read any since the Just So stories as a child. I'll check this one out as soon as I can snatch a little time.

Risa said...

I read the first few lines of your post and decided I would like to give this short story a go. Kipling starts off with a lot of humour, but yes, it does eventually become the ghost story of a tortured man. I loved these lines just before the real story takes off: When he recovered I suggested that he should write out the whole affair from beginning to end, knowing that ink might assist him to ease his mind. When little boys have learned a new bad word they are never happy till they have chalked it up on a door. And this also is Literature.

I'm really glad you guys find that this meme is really worthwhile. I'm enjoying it myself, and love that I'm being introduced to new writers through reading others' reviews!

Priya said...

Sophia - The Jungle Book and the Just so stories were some of my favourites when I was a kid. I never particularly read short stories since then, until very recently when I started taking part in this meme. Now every Wednesday I make it a point to read at least one short story, and of course, there are those that the other participants review that I check out too!

Risa - Haha, I liked that line too. But I posted this quote because it is not only humorous, but I also think it is kind of an apt description of India! Glad that you stopped by :)

mel u said...

I have read a few Kipling short stories this year-"The Man Who Would Be King", "How The Leopard Got his Spots" and "How the Rhinoceros Got His Horn". I found them to be interesting stories more for the local color than much else. I found your blog via Risa's and am now happy to be your latest follower.

Priya said...

Mel U - I actually haven't read much by Kipling apart from the stories I read as a kid. I do want to read The Man Who Would be King.. and the other stories in the Phantom Rickshaw collection! Even I find his writing more interesting than anything else, like you said. Thanks for the follow, glad you stopped by!

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