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

4.47 of 5 stars 4.47  ·  rating details  ·  567 ratings  ·  51 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,286)
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mark monday
(view spoiler) ...more
Tea Jovanović
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
Judy
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
Christine
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
...more
Karl
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
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Cynthia
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
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
Michael
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).
Niki
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".
John
Amazing descriptive language and characters set at the end of the British empire in India
Esdaile
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
Jas
May 23, 2010 Jas added it
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Mommalibrarian
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
cloudyskye
I saw the fantastic TV mini-series first, which inspired me to read this epos. It is really huge, literally so, it took me over a year to read it because it was too big to lug around all the time. But so worth it. Another big one set in India some 10 years later (as far as I remember) would be Vikram Seth's "A suitable boy" which I also enjoyed a lot.
Cassiel
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.
Poo
...more
Sandy
Jun 04, 2009 Sandy rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
...more
Janice
Mar 03, 2014 Janice marked it as to-read
Elaine mentioned 3/1/14
RH Walters
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roger
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.
UChicagoLaw
"If you haven’t read it already, or even if you have (I’m on my third time through), I recommend Paul Scott’s four-volume The Raj Quartet, four interlocking novels exploring the last days of the British in India. The characters are subtly drawn; the sociological and historical observations about race, class, and empire are constantly fascinating." — Martha Nussbaum
Sally
I read the Raj Q in small bites - sometimes only a couple of pages other times 15-20. The RQ actually is four books bound into one - The Jewel in the Crown; The Day of the Scorpion; The Towers of Silence; A Division of the Spoils. They build on one another. I loved each one. Each is a great read about India in the last days of the British Raj.
Meme
Nov 20, 2008 Meme rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any person intereted in other cultures
Recommended to Meme by: Book Club/Masterpiece Theater
A fabulous story of the last years of the Raj (during WW II), told from different points of view a la Rashomon. It was a series on Masterpiece Theater years ago and the DVD is also great. Paul Scott has written a number of other single books about the British in India and after independence.
Abbie
Fabulous read, great characters mostly all caught between several stools: culture, changing times, countries, identities. Could fit it well to current situation with US and Iraq. Learned a fair bit about Anglo-Indian relations/politics. Highly recommendable.
Nancy
This is four books in one volume covering politics in India both during and after British colonialism. I read it 25 years ago and remember it as an engrossing read, but a real commitment—almost 2,000 pages in all.
Geo Forman
an epic story. the 4 novels are certainly separate enough to be read on their own but a lot would be lost if all 4 were not read together in sequence. I wish he would have written a 5th to answer some questions
Margareth8537
A book about India in transition, with the British still fully occupied with war in Europe and losing in the Far East, and resenting the Indian Nationalist campaign for independence.
Neil
I didn't read this edition. But having read and loved the entire set in hardback, I guess I should review them as a set. They define the genre, Read them at all costs.
Barbara
It did take a while to get into the first book and then I couldn't put them down until I finished the 4th book. This was a reread for me after many years.
Donna
Jun 30, 2012 Donna marked it as to-read
Hope to have time this summer to re-read this brilliant quartet as well as the biography of the author, Paul Scott, by Hilary.
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3119
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...
The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet, #1) Staying On The Day of the Scorpion (The Raj Quartet, #2) The Towers of Silence (The Raj Quartet, #3) A Division of the Spoils (The Raj Quartet, #4)

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