The Phantom Rickshaw – Rudyard Kipling

The Phantom Rickshaw

A great book of some of Kipling’s best stories – plus the novela the fantastic ‘The Man Who Would be King.’ The preface would have you think of them as ghost stories, but Kipling has far to much class just to write ‘ghost stories.’ These are weirdly gripping and hypnotic stories of desperate characters in out-of-the-way colonial stations and plantations throughout India. The title story is about as haunting as it can get. What can I say about Kipling? He never wrote a bad sentence.

I knew that this book was destined to be a Kulcha Shok travel book the moment I set eyes on it. It was the only English book on an isanely eclectic little stall outside a photo-gallery in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico. I read it on the Rio San Juan, through a storm on Lake Nicaragua and at El Palmar, Panama. I left it at Hotel Casco Antiguo (used to be Hotel Colon) in Panama City. It’s a mystery where this book has been in its many years…but I would love to hear where it goes next.


Kitbaggers book project – travel literature on speed.

Have you ever handled a classic paperback and wondered where it’s been and whose hands it passed through? Do you love the well-handled look of a book that’s obviously seen decades of serious mileage through places you might only have imagined?

This project was conceived long ago through a conversation (in San Jose, Costa Rica) between a group of friends who’d wondered about these same things and thought it would be interesting to try to trace the history of just a few random books that we read on the road.

More than just a review – this is also the story of a single adventurous copy that’s probably still out there touring the world somewhere. Let us know if you find it.

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