The Light That Failed (Collected Works of Rudyard Kipling)

ISBN: 0742628256
ISBN 13: 9780742628250
By: Rudyard Kipling

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About this book

In 1/1878 Kipling was admitted to the United Services College, at Westward Ho!, Devon, a school founded a few years earlier to prepare boys for the armed forces. The school proved rough going for him at 1st, but led to firm friendships & provided the setting for his schoolboy stories Stalky & Co. published years later. During his time there, he met & fell in love with Florence Garrard, the model for Maisie in his 1st novel, The Light That Failed, initially published in 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. Dick Heldar is a war correspondent & an artist, known for the drawings he sends home to the London papers from wars in exotic places like Sudan. When he returns to London, he attempts to make a career for himself as a serious artist & encounters his childhood sweetheart, Maisie. They fall in love. Then he learns that a minor problem with his eyes is actually the onset of blindness, incurable--the result of a head wound he took during the war. As his vision fails, the light of everything around him--his life, his hopes, his dreams--fail with it. There are trerrible choies to be made between the love of the woman he treasures & the love of the men who stood by him at the front.

Reader's Thoughts


Found this book in a pile of old books. Never read Kipling before and read this book. It was okay and was especially amused by (paraphase) - the wind was blowing down the street, it was damp, and it was cold for it was summer in England. Remember, the main character is back in London from the Sudan. The plot is exceptional in that the main character psychologically tortures a model he is painting to get the right expression of her for his masterpiece. He finishes, his sight fails, and the model gets revenge. Enough said!


I had difficulty feeling any sympathy for Heldar when he first lost his sight because he was so arrogant & self-absorbed. The first half of the book almost made me give it up because of the shallowness of the characters. It became more interesting as Heldar began to deal with his affliction & became more introspective. Overall, I found this book very depressing.


prix nobel de littérature 1907*Dans La lumière qui s'éteint, le lecteur trouve matière à émotions fortes : l'amour, la guerre, la mort y sont évoqués sur un fond d'exotisme qui plaît aux amateurs de romans d'aventures. L'imaginaire et le réel y sont habilement mêlés. Le texte a le parfum de l'expérience vécue tout en faisant la part belle aux espérances irréalisées et peut-être irréalisables. Et surtout, au terme d'une existence agitée qui connaît les sommets de la gloire et les abîmes du désespoir, la mort triomphe, qui seule peut apaiser les souffrances du héros, Dick Heldar. Délaissant le monde indien, Kipling situe son action en Angleterre et au Soudan et, de plus, il s'y met en scène. L'affection particulière qu'il garda toujours pour ce roman dit clairement qu'il y mit beaucoup de lui-même.

Donald Moss

Kipling does it to me everytime.

Raluca Neagu

Pe Rudyard Kipling îl știam doar din cărțile lui pentru copii și cum titlul romanului mi se părea interesant, m-am gândit să îl încerc. ”Se lasă noaptea” nu m-a impresionat. Începutul a fost promițător: dragostea abia descoperită, background-ul celor doi, copilăria marcată de sărăcie, dogmă și pedepse. Toate aceste ingrediente ar fi adăugat o stea în plus cărții dacă al doilea capitol nu ar fi început ca o altă poveste.Noaptea se lasă brusc și întrerupe misiunea lui Dick. Cum ”regina nu poate să facă rău”, el se îndârjește într-o adorație fantastică a celei care nu i-a fost niciodată iubită, luptându-se totodată cu noaptea, cu incapacitatea de a progresa în artă și dorul de luptă, gloanțe și moarte.Amestecul artă-război-iubire nu a reușit pentru că am simțit că a fost descris insuficient. Când reușeam să înțeleg iubirea pentru Maisie, apărea dorința de evadare a lui Dick. Când înțelegeam arta lui, apărea Maisie cu Melancolia ei.Limbajul cărții sau mai degrabă traducerea ei mi s-au părut perfectibile.


I am glad I read it. predictable and abrupt ending.

Simon Katz

This book is good on so many different levels. First it's just a good story. But primarily it's one of the few, and the first I ever read, where the end of the love story is NOT predictible and saccharin sweet. It's one of Kipling's lesser known works and of a higher range then what are now considered to be juvinile classics.


There were aspects of this novel which will no doubt linger, such a work so preoccupied with light and color. I felt the characters genuine albeit incomplete.

Ray Melville

OK, bit long winded, and moralising, and predictable towards the end.


A very depressing book. I read it when I was in high school. It was at a time when I was enamored of Kipling's writing, and was reading everything I could find by him. It was a major disappointment.


I will always like this book. Kipling didn't write enough stories like this set in England, that was the main reason I bought the book, since I like most of Kiplings work, but don't always feel like reading about exotic locations. Every sentence Kipling writes is fairly awesome, which just leaves me wishing for more common stories by him.

Nicoleta Vasile

It was a nice try for Kipling to write something different, but no more than that.

Noah Diewald

Ever have one of those days where everything went wrong? Nah, this book ain't about a case of the Mondays. It is about shattered dreams and shattered love, where a man who is tough and strong and vibrant just manages to get his life back on his own terms. Kipling touches all the right strings at the right time, failing to over analyze his characters he demonstrates a reaction to crisis.


This was one of the first novels I read in high school. Because it was all so new it left quite an impression on me. I loved this book but i'm not sure if that's because it was so great or because it was my first.

Robin Hobb

The Light That Failed took me into a different realm of Kipling's writing. It's the tale of an artist who draws what he sees of war, and then, as his eyesight is failing, sets out to complete his Melancholia.I won't give any more spoilers than that, except to say that his portrayals of the friendships he experiences with both men and women are still very moving to me.

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