The Jungle Law

Victoria Vinton, Author . MacAdam/Cage $25 (303p) ISBN 978-1-59692-149-8

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), born to a British family in Bombay and raised by a foster family in England, moved to Vermont in 1892. He and his wife were basically broke, but his literary star was on the rise, and he sought a place to work and raise a family. First-time novelist Vinton, using a free and direct third person, presents Kipling's life there as he worked on what became The Jungle Books . When Kipling encounters a Vermont farm boy, Joe Connolly, Kipling uses storytelling to draw him out. Their relationship enrages the boy's father, depressed, aggressive Irish immigrant Jack. Jack can't, however, stop the writer and Joe from talking, and the two discuss a new character Kipling is turning over in his mind: Mowgli, abandoned in the jungle and raised by animals. Kipling proceeds to draw on his conversations with the impoverished boy, as well as his own experience with abandonment and with a cruel foster family, to develop Mowgli's story. But there's way too much distance between the omniscient narrator and Kipling and the others: Vinton gets into their heads effectively enough but doesn't render what she finds there with immediacy or abandon. (Oct. 3)

Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
Compact Disc - 978-1-4193-5779-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-385-66296-3
Paperback - 303 pages - 978-1-59692-199-3
Open Ebook - 978-0-385-67337-2
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