The book, which includes autobiographical elements, describes the youth and manhood of Dick Heldar and traces his efforts as a war correspondent and artist whose sketches of British battles in the Sudan become popular. When he returns to London, he begins painting his masterpiece, racing against time because a battle wound has caused his eyesight to progressively fail. Kipling wrote two separate endings to The Light That Failed
, a happy ending for the version published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in January 1890 and an unhappy ending for the version published in book form a few months later.
The Light That Failed is a haunting and powerful novel of human suffering, love and loss. In Dick Heldar, artist and journalist, we see a man struggling to rise above his cruel beginnings and neglected childhood to grasp at a chance for happiness in later life. However as his hopes slowly turn to dust, his determination and mental powers begin to drain away, and the onset of premature physical decline determines his final demise. In a shocking and tragic conclusion, Kipling completes his frighteningly realistic survey of physical and psychological breakdown.
Original title: The Light That Failed
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction