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The Raj Quartet: The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – July 3, 2007
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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“A major work, a glittering combination of brilliant craftsmanship, psychological perception and objective reporting.” –The New York Times
“An artful triumph. . . . [The Jewel in the Crown] goes forward with considerable power and urgency. . . . Besides storytelling, Mr. Scott uses his remarkable techniques to portray a place and a time, a society and its social arrangements, that are now history.” –The New Yorker
“Far more even than E.M. Forster, in whose long literary shadow he has to work, Paul Scott is successful in exploring the provinces of the human heart.” –Life
“The strength, assurance and stamina displayed in The Day of the Scorpion are quite outstanding. [Scott is a] writer who has thoroughly mastered his material, and who can . . . work through a maze of fascinating detail without for a moment losing sight of distant and considerable objectives.” –The Times Literary Supplement
“An epic of genius.” –Philadelphia Inquirer
About the Author
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.
Top customer reviews
Although the story is, in some senses, a simple one, Scott's retelling of it is not simple at all. Only very gradually is the full story revealed, and almost every possible perspective is utilized in long passages with frequent temporal dislocation: the elderly and sophisticated Rajput princess with whom Daphne was living; the "nun" whose Sanctuary was the site of much contact between Daphne and Hari; the military and civil British authorities who were trying to keep order in Mayapore; and the letters or journals of Hari and Daphne themselves. Although there is nothing suspenseful about the outcome, Scott is pains to explain the tragic story only slowly, and it becomes more engaging as the details emerge and the entire background is gradually filled in. The unknown narrator (who may well be Guy Perron, the future academic of the later novels) is determined to unravel the mystery, and the entire novel reads like a detective story.
Scott was a masterful writer. I have never been to India, but his writing is a rich evocation of an entire experience, including the distinctive sights and smells and sounds. The Raj is a world that has largely gone, although its residue certainly remains in modern India. There is already here a strong sense of the impending disaster of partition that followed independence, although Scott tells his tale largely from the perspective of the British observers.
What happens in this book is absolutely essential to understanding the subsequent three novels in the quadrilogy, although (for different reasons) neither Hari Kumar nor Daphne Manners will figure in them. But the repercussions of Daphne's rape, and of the Indian unrest that followed it, will be deep and long. So there is much to look forward to!