The Towers of Silence (The Raj Quartet #3)
The Manners case and the politics of Congress leader Mohammed Ali Kasim are relegated to the background as Barbara takes the lead. Where women are traditionally reticent, her character is a revolution...more
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An apt metaphor for a dead empire, being slowly devoured by the vultures of history - seen mostly through the eyes of Barbie Batchelor, a retired missionary schoolteacher: herself an anachronism.
Another winner from Paul ...more
Scott writes old white women brilliantly. There actually isn't too much new plot in this third installment of the Raj Quartet, set in the hill station of Pankot; we mostly go over ground covered in the first two novels, sometimes from an omniscient perspective, sometimes from that of a different character. The spinster educator and missionary Barbie Batchelor is the protagonist. Her relationships with the dowager Mabel Layton, and Mabel's stepson's chilly wife Mildred Layton, are wonderfully lim ...more
Some historical background which is important in order to follow the plot:
Pankot, Barbie Batchlor's new home:
Gandhi's quit India resolution (Quit India Movement), August 14th, 1942.
Subhas Chandra Bose takes the leadership of the Indian National Army.
...the defeat of the Japanese attempt to invade India at Imphal...
The plot is set in Pankot which is a "second class" hill station in the province which serves as a ...more
That is unless the reader would rather choose entry through the towers of silence used by the Parsees (a Zoroastrian community that fled Muslim conquering of Persia) during their funeral rights to lay their deceased out for the vultures to feast on.
Either way, the infinite land of Sco ...more
I started reading this one because I felt like since I knew nothing about the author, the genre, or the time period (the last days of English rule of India), I had no idea what to expect and could be surprised, or at least not-bored.
Was I not ...more
The book is about a lady who has retired as the Superintendent of a school Ms. Barbara Batchelor and is on the lookout for a place to stay when she finds an advertisement for a Paying Guest with a widow in one of the cantonments. The book is set during the time the World War is fought.
She replies and gets a positive response saying she should come and try it out as a three week vacation and if they ...more
Again, the events in book 1 of the Raj Quartet are rehashed at length, as this time we have to follow along as Barbie learns about the attacks on Miss Crane and Daphne Manners, and ruminate on them.
And many of the newer events of book 2 (The Day of the Scorpion) are reiterated, this time from Barbie's POV.
It's probably only because of my fond memories of the miniserie ...more
A strong book focusing on the impact of war on the wives, daughters and companions of the British Army at Pankot. Well developed characters and there is no doubt there was a lot of people full of their own importance who were willing to live in India to help maintain the Empire.
I was a bit mystified by the main character of Mrs Bachelor, who came to live in Pankot after her retirement ...more
Paul Scott was born in London in 1920. He served in the army from 1940 to 1946, mainly in India and Malaya. He is the author of thirteen distinguished novels including his famous The Raj Quartet. In 1977, Staying On won the Booker Prize. Paul Scott died in 1978.