Read The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott Online


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 Crown2) The Day of the Scorpion3) The Towers of Silence4) A Division of the Spoils...

Title : The Raj Quartet
Author :
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ISBN : 9780380699339
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 1985 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Raj Quartet Reviews

  • Tea Jovanović
    2019-03-05 14:01

    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 urađena britanska serija po ovim romanima... :) Kompletno zadovoljstvo... :)

  • mark monday
    2019-02-27 16:01

    (view spoiler)[message 24: by mark 27 minutes agoi can't narrow it down, that's an unfair demand! nor am i lurker. but hey, i'm awake at 3:18 am so that's reason enough: Absolute Beginners The Raj Quartet Little, Big Thin Red Line Catcher in the Rye (sorry, haters) message 25: by karen, future RA queen (new) 12 minutes agoat least two of those are out of print in this country, so tell me why i should be jealous/ go on, what's so great about thoooose books? message 26: by mark (new) 3 minutes agoOUT OF PRINT, WTF?! that is very upsetting. which two? i ramble on and on and on about Absolute Beginners, Little Big, Thin Red Line, and Catcher in my reviews for those novels... so i'm feeling rather shy all of a sudden about rambling on and on and on again about them. but The Raj Quartet! no review... so now i can really ramble on, yeah! but first let me pour myself a glass of 3:42am wine. perhaps it will get me back to sleep (unlikely). message 27: by mark (new) 55 minutes agookay wine sounded terrible all of a sudden, so some microwave hot chocolate instead (very classy). here goes... oops, now the microwave is beeping message 28: by mark (new) 6 minutes ago(hide spoiler)]WHY YOU SHOULD READ THE RAJ QUARTET1. do you like to read extensively detailed, dense, dramatic historical fiction that does not stint on characterization or slow-burning narrative action? do you like to read about colonial india, specifically colonial india during the troubled handover from the british raj back to indian control, and then of course the horrible partitioning? i do. but why exactly? well, let's see...2. do you like to read about class systems and their impact - on a systemic level and on an intimate, personal level as well? i sure do. class is the basis of so many, er, classic english novels, but there is just something so drastic and of course so racially-based as the class system of colonial india. the class system becomes so palpable, so real, so almost on the verge of breaking down because of its inherent, disgusting unfairness when race is brought into the mix. class in literature that depicts colonial india is also powerful to me on a personal level. i'm not sure i can explain this in words that are inoffensive. i'm a person who loves classic english (and early american) literature. i eat it all up. and yet there is always a side of me - and i acknowledge that this may be due to my mixed-race status - that shouts at the back of my mind when reading those novels: ohyouthinkitssohardyouspoiledupperclasstwit/youneedlesslyresentfullowerclassknobyou'restillwhitewhitewhiteandsohavesomanymoreautomaticadvantagesmorethanyou'lleverrealize, justshutthefuckupwithyourwhiningalready! i don't get that voice when i'm reading about colonial india. class analysis within this subject is stark: you are brown or you are white, that determines your class, and in the end it doesn't matter what your level of education is, how much money you have, whatever... there will always be an automatic divide based on where you were born and what color your skin happens to be. that starkness makes it so much more relevant to me. and on top of that, the author also explores intragroup class distinctions within the races depicted.3. do you like to read about tragic romance? this one has one of the best examples of its kind. the lovers are so warmly, honestly depicted. what happens to them is so disturbing... and it reverberates to inform the rest of this epic and nearly all the major characters within it. 4. do you like your historical novels to relate history on a personal scale? do you like to see how great events impact folks who are not movers & shakers but simply caught up in a grand design not of their making? 5. do you like old-fashioned villains but yet long for completely realistic, three-dimensional characters who have understandable motivations as they continue to do the horrible things they do? can the two be combined? Raj Quartet has a couple outstanding examples. 6. do you want to read the perspective of older folks, flitting in and out of potential senility, considered useless by the younger generation, dreamy and strange and not-quite-getting-it? this novel has my favorite example of the kind. she is not idealized. she is not a fountain of wisdom. she is heartbreaking. 7. do you like poetry in prose form? for such an elephantine undertaking, one full of extensive historical detail and given wide-screen scope, The Raj Quartet is written by an author who knows how to turn a phrase. a looooooong phrase. Paul Scott is an amazing writer. he knows how to construct sentences that make you pause and wonder at how language can convey the most ambiguous of feelings, the beauty in a tiny detail, the strangeness of a foreign setting, the way a place can actually look and feel and smell and taste. 8. do you like strong women? good, so do i. this book is full of them. sometimes they are heroes, in one case a villain (such a black & white word, but it fits), but mainly they are just people who are trying to do the best they can. they are not "strong" in a wish-fulfillment sense of the word. they are strong in a way that is real, that is brave because of their personal and historical context, that is worthy of respect because of their need to define themselves according to their own personal context. 9. do you like intricate narratives? say no more, this is royalty as far as intricacy is concerned. as a reader, you better pay attention. characters come and go, but they are not dropped. actions impact actions and those actions, that impact, unspools in all directions, ever-widening but sometimes submerged, sometimes leading to a dead end, but always connected in a way that is so complex and so subtle, so small and so large. 10. do you want an excellent BBC adaptation of your favorite english novel, preferably in miniseries format? hey, you got that too. watch this AFTER you read the series though, well at least that's the way i did it and it was awesome. so awesome that i put off breaking up with a pretentious asshole simply because we hadn't finished the miniseries yet and he owned the, um, vhs tapes. he was trying to "educate" me. i waited to break up with him until after the last episode. well, i guess i was the asshole in that case. (view spoiler)[gosh, i wrote so much. this feels like a review. time to cut and paste! (hide spoiler)]

  • Karl
    2019-03-05 14:55

    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 multiple narrators more cleanly than any other author I know, and, in my humble opinion, he's particularly good with the female narrators.For those of you who get through the first book and are worried about the mixture of sadistic evil and latent homosexuality in one of the main characters, don't worry - look for Count Bronowsky, my favorite character, to appear later.Make time to read this, but don't let too much time lapse between the pieces. It's the best fiction I've read in a long time.

  • Judy
    2019-03-04 14:20

    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" in the Middle East. The question of how one person (Sarah Layton in the book) can break away from the ties of nationality and chauvinism that appear to define us and eventually create one's own identity is sensitively and beautifully detailed.

  • Christine
    2019-02-27 13:14

    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 has created fascinating characters, both Indian and British, Muslim and Hindu, who personify the complex relations which existed between the rulers and the ruled. He does so in away that is never sentimental; never preachy or overwrought.I have read the four books of the quartet twice over the years, and viewed the immensely faithful BBC series The Jewel in the Crown. I believe Scott has written one of the most significant works of modern historical fiction. He knows his history and he knows how to draw characters who are completely true.If you love great writing, do yourself a favor and read these books.

  • Michael
    2019-03-05 17:58

    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).

  • Cynthia
    2019-03-09 19:09

    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 attention.

  • Frances Sawaya
    2019-02-21 20:10

    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 written on the symbolism of each for the weaknesses and strengths of the conquering country.

  • Roger
    2019-02-21 19:57

    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.

  • Veeresh Badiger
    2019-03-15 18:13

    In The Raj Quartet, Scott holds a large lost world of empire in the volumes that form the epic saga. His feat is equal to that of Tolstoy. He creates world in which one could dote in a state of timelessness. it is classic of its own kind. It is a Herculean task of handling 375 characters and cyclic narration of a mega story against the backdrop of pre-Independence history

  • Susan
    2019-03-21 13:00


  • Robyn
    2019-02-20 20:13

    One of the best books I've ever read

  • Niki
    2019-03-02 20:51

    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
    2019-03-16 18:08

    Amazing descriptive language and characters set at the end of the British empire in India

  • Behrooz Barzegar
    2019-03-05 19:02

    Fabulous. One of my classics. Great.

  • Esdaile
    2019-02-22 12:53

    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. The writer presents different perspectives from different individuals and shifts forward and backward chronologically rather like Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet. The novel covers the last years of British India. India became independent in 1947. It was described as the jewel in the crown of the Queen (Victoria). The granting of independence to India signalled a rushed exudus on the part of British colonial authorities and the beginning of a very rapid end to the largest Empire that the world has yet seen. Paul Scott has created in the character of Ronald Merreck and unforgetably sinister figure, plausible and impressive, a man who can be defined and somewhere in the book I think is defined, as a person who takes more than he gives of human happiness, whose main talent and interest is to be at the centre and manipulate. To use an old-fashioned word, he may be described as "evil" but he is deeply intelligent, which evil persons, üprobably wrongly are thought not to be. (People balk at the idea that Stalin or Hitler were probably above average intelligence and strenuously try to account for their success in any way other than by intelligence, preferring to use words like "cunning" and "ruthless energy").The book has some substantial failings. It is tendentious. Although presenting itself as so to speak an objective epic, the anti-British bias is unmistakable. (There is no Indian character half as devious as Ronald Merrick in the story, for example). The writer employs many expressions and vocabulary which would have been current at the period (1940's) in which the story takes place. Not only does he employ them himself, his characters employ them, which is worse. The examples I noted were in my stolen books but I do remember a sergeant saying "no sweat" to mean no problem-a very modern expression surely and people keep talking of kids instead of children-kids is an Americanism which I do not think would have been used by members of the Raj at the time of the Second World War. As I say, I had plenty of other examples, unfortunately now gone in my stolen rucksack. It has been written that this is the description of the last years of the Raj, as though that is all the quartet is. In fact, the quartet can also be read as an insightful account of the ambiguities, strains and contradicitions of the prevailing social, cultural and racial hierachies pertaining to any societies in which hierachies exist whose exsitence is not rigidly stated in a code, but to some extent implicit instead.Adendum: Perry Anderson has written a review in the London Reviuew of Books Volume 34 Issue 13 on Gandhi in which I read:"Under Bose, the dedication and courage of the Indian National Army-untiing Hindu, Muslim and Sikh combattants-in battle against the British in Manipur and Burma, won such widespread admiration in India, not least from Gandhi himslef, that prosecution of its officers had to be dropped after the war in the face of angry mass demonstrations." Scott's depiction givesd a very different picture, although ironically his depiction, or what we receive from him, comes via his sinister character Merrick, namely that Bose's army was ineffective and despised by the Japanese. Perry Anderson's statement further creates suspicion in my mind that Paul Scott's quartet is politically tendentious. On the other hand, maybe Perry Anderson is wrong. What do other readers think?

  • Jas
    2019-03-13 21:03

    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 police and leaders at the time, specifically Ronald Merrick, are the dilemma many characters have to face.There are many conversations in this book that show how conflicted many people are, especially when handling relations between British and Indian people. This is a very honest and frank conversation between two British friends serving in the military who also went to school with Coomer/Kumar:'Is Merrick a principled man?''Principled as a rock. He thinks people like you and me are scum. He believes we've abandoned the principles we used to live by, what he would call the English upper-and ruling-class principle of knowing oneself superior to all other races especially black and having a duty to guide and correct them...Poor Coomer obviously never stood a chance. An English public school education and manner, but black as your hat.''Not so black.''Black enough for Merrick. But most of us are as bad as black to him. There aren't many real white men left. And the odd thing is that when he comes across any he despises them.'Merrick is the real villain in the story, as he chooses to victimize people he doesn't agree with, such as Hari Kumar. It affects his British peers, and behind closed doors, you can see how the English had qualms about their actions.However, the novels are not only about this rape case, but this case is used to illustrate much more complicated viewpoints for the different characters. Through different characters eyes, you start to get an understanding of what it was like to be in India in the years leading up to partition and how the British rationalized their presence. Throughout the journey, the reader can't help but sympathize with both the Indian and British sides of the issue.Mixed in with the character development, other issues such as World War II and independent states serve as important backdrops. I never fully appreciated the impact of creating a country such as India, how World War II entered into the equation, and how former independent states who had treaties with the British were set adrift and put into Congress' hands. This book is definitely recommended if you love history (like me) but still want a good story with solid characters to help you understand it just a little bit more.

  • Mommalibrarian
    2019-03-13 16:08

    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 book to go on.The book consists of many long sections; each section from the point of view of a different person. Soon you see the people repeating and coming into the stories of others. Some of these voices were very easy to like and some not. I wonder how much village life has changed. I wonder what traces are left of the British occupation. We know the rancour continues between Pakistan and India (Muslims and Hindus) from our nightly news. How much rancour remains against the British. It is surprising to me that this colony only achieved its independence in my lifetime considering that its subjugation began in the 1700s.

  • Lori
    2019-03-05 13:55

    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 amazingly it is well worth it to keep reading.FYI - the BBC series is pretty close to the books and I love it too.

  • Cassiel
    2019-02-28 19:04

    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. Poor: Scott avoids writing the historical background narrative by burdening his characters with dreary dialogue. The conversations about politics are excruciating by the fourth volume.

  • Sandy
    2019-03-16 15:06

    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 are well worth remembering and I recommend all of them... This series included.

  • !Tæmbuŝu
    2019-03-04 20:16

    KOBOBOOKS: A Division of the SpoilsKOBOBOOKS: The Towers of SilenceKOBOBOOKS: The Day of the ScorpionKOBOBOOKS: The Jewel in the Crown

  • RH Walters
    2019-03-02 13:15

    Had to read this after wondering what happened to the characters after watching the atmospheric and wrenching mini-series. Enjoyed a nice background on Lady Chatterjee and learning what happens to Daphne and Hari's daughter, but life is generally grim for most characters. Scott creates a pitiless world and you might prefer the wistful feeling of wondering what happened to the characters than knowing. Either conclusion works well artistically; it's a matter of what note you'd like to linger on.

  • Robin
    2019-02-27 17:08

    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 independence that makes this work so great. It is a deep and lasting joy to read.

  • David Anderson
    2019-03-18 20:07

    Truly a masterful and epic piece of historical fiction about the concluding years of the British Raj in India. I'm sorry to have it come to an end and wish I had read it sooner. Paul Scott's prose style is exquisite and I love the way that, Rashomon-like, he tells the story from the differing perspectives of the many characters. The Raj Quartet is a huge investment in time - it took me almost four months to get through all four novels - but it was worth every minute. Simply one of those books you must read at least once in your lifetime.

  • John
    2019-02-21 14:02

    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.

  • Sally
    2019-03-17 21:13

    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.

  • cloudyskye
    2019-03-13 14:12

    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.

  • UChicagoLaw
    2019-03-11 19:11

    "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

  • Nancy
    2019-03-17 17:56

    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.