After exploiting India's divisions for years, the British depart in such haste that no one is prepared for the Hindu-Muslim riots of 1947. The twilight of the raj turns bloody. Against the backdrop of the violent partition of India and Pakistan, A Division of the Spoils illuminates one last bittersweet romance, revealing the divided loyalties of the British as they flee, retreat from, or cling to India.
Paul Scott(1920-78), born in London, held a commission in the Indian army during World War II. His many novels includeJohnnie Sabib, The Chinese Love Pavilion,andStaying On.
Book One: 1945
An Evening at the Maharanee's
Journeys into Uneasy Distances
The Moghul Room
The Dak Bungalow
The Circuit House
Book Two: Pandora's Box
Paul Scotts vision is both precise and painterly. Like an engraver crosshatching I the illusion of fullness, he selects nuances that will make his characters take on depth and poignancy.
One has to admire Mr. Scotts gifts as a buttonholing storyteller, and his rich, close-textured prose; his descriptions of action and of certain kinds of relationships are superb.
What has always astonished me aboutThe Raj Quartetis its sense of sophisticated and total control of its gigantic scenario and highly varied characters. The four volumes constitute perfectly interlocking movement of a grand overall design. The politics are handled with an expertise that intrigues and never bores, and are always seen in terms of individuals.