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The Raj Quartet (The Raj Quartet #1-4)

4.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  720 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Here is a set of the 4 novels which comprise The Raj Quartet, all of which are set in India between 1942 and 1947.

1) The Jewel in the Crown
2) The Day of the Scorpion
3) The Towers of Silence
4) A Division of the Spoils
Mass Market Paperback, 1985 pages
Published 1979 by Avon (first published 1976)
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Valerie I am hoping that sometime during the past 5 months you decided to pick up this saga and immerse yourself in hours of truly great storytelling. I have…moreI am hoping that sometime during the past 5 months you decided to pick up this saga and immerse yourself in hours of truly great storytelling. I have to tell you that this is a book I would not usually choose for myself, but the popularity of the series influenced me enough to read the first book, and then the second, the third, and quite reluctantly the fourth. I just never wanted it to end. I did not see the series before I read the books but did see it years later. If you liked the series, you will love the books. My favorite book, and a great story.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,845)
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Tea Jovanović
Jun 15, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it it was amazing
Ovo je kvartet knjiga za koje sam se mnogo borila da ih Laguna kupi i objavi... Bila sam uporna i izgurala... I izabrala odličnog prevodioca za njih... Nažalost, napustila sam Lagunu pre objavljivanja knjiga... "Daleki paviljoni" M.M. Kej i "Radž kvartet" na najbolji način dočaravaju kolonijalnu Indiju i smatraju se savremenim klasicima britanske književnosti... Knjige koje vas ostavljaju bez daha i koje ne ispuštate iz ruku bez obzira što su debeljuškaste... Da ne spominjemo kako je sjajno urađ ...more
mark monday
(view spoiler) ...more
Jun 30, 2011 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Raj Quartet is a huge investment in time - it's four novels - but it's worth it. It's the kind of fiction project that most of us don't carve out space for, but large, complex works (think Proust or Joyce) have sublime rewards when done well, as here.

You don't have to have a particular interest in almost-post-colonial India to enjoy Scott; I don't. What you get is a carefully wrought story, with many strands, told from shifting points of view (mainly but not exclusively British). Scott does
Dec 19, 2009 Judy rated it it was amazing
The Raj Quartet (comprised of four novels) is my favourite work of fiction for the twentieth century. It is simply an exquisite experience to read this book, every word and image seem just about perfect. It is a complex, multi-layered story of 2 countries, their colonial relationship and eventual "divorce" told from the many points of view of the supremely detailed characters Scott created. I think the "Quartet" is especially relevant today in terms of our ongoing problems with "Nation Building" ...more
Feb 24, 2013 Christine rated it it was amazing
The "Raj Quartet" is the epic account of the last years of the British occupation of India. India was the "Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire, and the relationship of the Indian people and their colonial masters was vastly complicated, to say the least.

Author Paul Scott weaves together the lives of many unforgettable characters whose destinies are shaped by the British rule in India. He recounts the political, personal and historical joys and tragedies of the dissolution of that rule. He
Sep 13, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
One of the all time greats. Well worth rediscovering and getting the University of Chicago's beautiful 4-volume set. This is long and fairly deliberately paced, but absolutely riveting in its dramatic construction, characters and their inter-dynamics, historical interest, etc. I read it breathlessly and was sad when it was over (sad that there were no more volumes to read), though Staying On is a lovely, bittersweet coda to the series (and won the Booker to boot).
May 17, 2008 Cynthia rated it really liked it
A wonderful book. It's very old-fashioned in one sense, because it has a very languorous pace (but it's NOT dull) but it's also an English-class worthy example of contemporary fiction: lots of symbolism but also the whole story is seen as though you're in a hall of mirrors. The truth (it's the story of the gangrape of an Englishwoman that sets off riots in 1942 in India, as Gandhi and the Congress prepare to evict the English) and the narrative are fractured so you really have to kind of pay att ...more
Frances Sawaya
May 03, 2016 Frances Sawaya rated it it was amazing
Obviously, I think a great deal of these books as I have read them in their entirety several times over the years. The cruelty and arrogance of the British rule made me want to leap up and demand justice for Hari; romance was satisfied on several levels but not alas for all. The character development is outstanding from the humble Barbie to the equally pathetic yet sadistic Merrick to Guy to Sarah to Daphne to ... Not a single bad portrayal throughout the books. Many a doctoral paper could be wr ...more
Jan 22, 2014 Roger rated it it was ok
Started sort of interesting; but I became increasingly bored, and couldn't wait to "finish" the poundage. Finish means that I skimmed the fourth novel, having invested careful reading of novels 1, 2, 3. Got tired of the British, got tired of the prejudice, got tired of World War II. When at the end of novel 1, Edwina Crane declares "There is nothing I can do" - I should have figured out sooner that this was the theme of the quartet.
Feb 27, 2008 Niki rated it it was amazing
I read this twice, the second time I was older and understood the historical context better. It was also made into a very good BBC production. there is a sequel called "Staying On".
Mar 05, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
Amazing descriptive language and characters set at the end of the British empire in India
Jun 24, 2015 Robin rated it it was amazing
I first read this quartet years ago, before even the TV series came out, and was astonished at the depth, humanity and intelligence of it. I am re-reading it now and am into Book III, and I am again astounded by it. It is a masterpiece, pure and simple. Paul Scott's mastery of the language, not only its lyrical side but also its precision, is absolute, but it's the marriage of that mastery with his obviously profound understanding of the situation of the British in India at the time of independe ...more
Aug 21, 2012 Robyn rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read
May 29, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2012 Esdaile rated it really liked it
Unfortunately my notes on this book as well as the last volume which I was half way through, were in my rucksack, which was stolen. I was in Costa Rica and had given the other volumes away to save on luggage weight. Conseuently this review is necessarily very short and from meory of what struck me, without references. What I can remember is that this is successfully conceived and executed epic, which integrates individual human destinies, Indian and British, with the wider historical perspective ...more
May 23, 2010 Jas added it
The Raj Quartet is a series of four books that is a fascinating look at India before and after independence from Britain.

Paul Scott does a great job of weaving a plot into the complexities between the military, government, and the ordinary people who are affected by the British raj. The novels all center around an alleged case of rape between an Indian man who grew up in England, Harry Coomer (AKA Hari Kumar), and a British woman. It is not a simple case however, and the decisions made by the po
Despite my intense sadness at the loss of American jobs to cheaper overseas labor, especially to India, I am interested in the country and its history. The Raj Quartet is four books in one. The Jewel in the Crown (451 p), The Day of the Scorpion (483 p), The Towers of Silence (392 p), and A Division of the Spoils (598 p). I was really glad for this as I would have hated to get to the end of any of them and have to wait to get the next one from the library. As I read the last page, I wanted the b ...more
Dec 24, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
I don't remember exactly when and which edition that I read the quartet, but it was after watching the excellent 1984 British TV series. The series and the books are both quite brilliant. This is a link to the series, which is particularly well shot with exotic locales. I just remembered about the Quartet while reading another (non-fiction) book partially about the Raj.
Jul 09, 2011 Cassiel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: generalfiction
A paperback that weighs in at three pounds; after 2 weeks of handling my copy is battered, but amazingly still holding together. I don't know if it would last through a second reading, so it will be honorably retired.
Superb: Cast members who, in their complexity, are real people. Hari Kumar is the truly unknown Indian, his personality evading capture like a drop of mercury. Whatever made dotty Barbie Batchelor tick remained unrevealed. Merrick's layers of psycopathy are never fully exposed.
Kathryn Wardell
Feb 26, 2016 Kathryn Wardell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read on the British raj in India as independence builds. Every bit as good as the PBS SERIES that spun off this Quartet.
Aug 06, 2015 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished the 1st book - "The Jewell in the Crown". Wonderful writing! Pleasure to read. Am now reading, "The Day of the Scorpion".
Sep 16, 2015 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: india-books
One of the best (set of) books I've ever read. Some of the writing is simply too good to believe. These books describe perfectly the dilemma that is India - one loves and hates it all at once. The characters of Daphne and Sarah experience this confusion of feelings in their relationships with the men in their lives. But there are so many layers of meaning in these books, one could go on and on. The last book is a little slow (as the political crisis of the 1947 Partition gets closer) but ends so ...more
Jan 27, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've lived with this book for almost two months, almost two thousand pages. But I have no words for it tonight.
Jun 04, 2009 Sandy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in British Colonialism or India
Shelves: india, hist-fiction
Long ago I read some of this series, certainly the Jewel in the Crown and I think book 2 & part of 3 maybe and I know I watched the TV production (BBC?) which was terrific. It is a gripping and powerful saga about British Colonialism in India with all its attendent racism, bigotry & self-righteousness.... A very powerful series.

I've read a number of excellent books about India, which, till today, I had not put on my book list as I read most of them way back in the 70's or 80's. But they
Margaret O'connor-hurst
Dec 27, 2015 Margaret O'connor-hurst rated it it was amazing
Amazing fictional account of India/Pakistan's Independence
Jan 06, 2016 Melody rated it it was amazing
Understated, strangely spiraling, and wonderful.
Mar 03, 2014 Janice marked it as to-read
Elaine mentioned 3/1/14
Pat Theo
Jan 02, 2016 Pat Theo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it.
RH Walters
Feb 18, 2010 RH Walters rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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The History Book ...: * THE RAJ QUARTET SERIES - INTRODUCTION ~ (Spoiler Thread) 55 205 Mar 31, 2016 11:24PM  
So. What happens to Hari in the end? SPOILERS OK 1 6 Mar 25, 2013 12:35PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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.
More about Paul Scott...

Other Books in the Series

The Raj Quartet (4 books)
  • The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet, #1)
  • The Day of the Scorpion
  • The Towers of Silence
  • A Division of the Spoils (The Raj Quartet, #4)

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