The Raj Quartet, Paul Scott’s epic study of British India in its final years, has no equal. Tolstoyan in scope and Proustian in detail but completely individual in effect, it records the encounter between East and West through the experiences of a dozen people caught up in the upheavals of the Second World War and the growing campaign for Indian independence from Britain. The first novel, The Jewel in the Crown, describes the doomed love between an English girl and an Indian boy, Daphne Manners and Hari Kumar. This affair touches the lives of other characters in three subsequent volumes, most of them unknown to Hari and Daphne but involved in the larger social and political conflicts which destroy the lovers. In The Day of the Scorpion, Ronald Merrick, a sadistic policeman who arrested and prosecuted Hari, insinuates himself into an aristocratic British family as World War II escalates. On occasions unsparing in its study of personal dramas and racial differences, the Raj Quartet is at all times profoundly humane, not least in the author’s capacity to identify with a huge range of characters. It is also illuminated by delicate social comedy and wonderful evocations of the Indian scene, all narrated in luminous prose. In Jewel in the Crown, Scott brought to life in intricate detail an incredibly contested era and Anglo-Indian history, the end of the British Raj. Through the characters and their stories we see the perspectives of both sides of the question of Indian self-governance at a particularly fascinating moment of history. All through the lens of Scott’s incredibly lush story telling that makes you feel as if you are right there in the story, which makes all the joys and tragedies that much harder to bear as a reader who has been sucked in to the story. For those of who are squeamish around depictions of racial injustice, I would warn you to read this book with some detachment, if you can. The descriptions of racial prejuidice and subjugation that were so ingrained at this time can be a little hard to get through, especially if you have a personal connection to India. I would not discourage you from reading this book though, as it is a story that needs to be read. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next one.
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About the Book:
When a kidnapper redeems his lost conscience and finds himself unable to murder the girl he has kidnapped, what does he do? Fate is cruel to him, and good intentions are never enough.
At the same time, a woman dissatisfied with her existence flees from her home, not knowing what lies ahead of her. But all things come at a price, and she has a hard path ahead through storms and fire.
Watch how fate has entwined these lives together, into a song through struggles of conscience and identity, through the deepest lows and greatest highs, and through the flame of madness and the stings of survival.
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Feedback for the Book:
5 Stars “An extremely well
written thriller by an amazing fourteen-year-old. Written at an age when most
teenagers find their boats floundering in the sea of words, Subhashish had not
only managed to keep a grip on the plot, taking the reader along the journey of
his well-drawn out characters, he had also shown a rare maturity in his choice
of words. His insights are at times startling, coming from someone of his age.”
Kar on Amazon
5 Stars – “An impressive
first novel. The author is still in his teens, but the narrative voice is one
of maturity and experience. The story unfolds like a Russian romance novel, in
a modern setting. The plot is complex and suspenseful and keeps one turning the
pages until the climax.” ~ T.N.Badri on
thoroughly interesting read, Fate’s Design, plays out as a struggle to live,
survive and not merely exist. There are flaws, which in any case, are there in
every piece of writing, but, the author’s abilities to weave a story, which
does not make you, cringe or question its validity, make it an interesting work
worth going over more than once.” ~ Soumyabrata
About the Author:
Subhashish is a 14-year-old student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya Anna Nagar. He has been regularly contributing short stories to his school magazine. An avid reader, Subhashish believes that books open the doors to some wonderful insights in life. A brilliant student, Subhashish loves to explore different places and spends time trying to understand the culture of the people there.
Subhashish lives in Chennai along with his parents and grandmother. This is his first attempt at writing a novel. Subhashish is passionate about music and loves singing and playing his piano. Incidentally, music forms the backbone of the story of his novel.
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Wrinkled woman shows girls
picture of her uncreased days
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And every day, I’d wake up, take my coffee by the door, waiting,
wishing that he’d walk in life he had always promised.
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