Publisher: William Heineman
Length: 215 pages
About: Retired Colonel and wife remain in India
Style: 3rd person
In this sequel to The Raj Quartet, Colonel Tusker and Lucy Smalley stay on in the hills of Pankot after Indian independence deprives them of their colonial status. Finally fed up with
accommodating her husband, Lucy claims a degree of independence herself. Eloquent and hilarious, she and Tusker act out class tensions among the British of the Raj and give voice to the loneliness,
rage, and stubborn affection in their marriage.
I know for years you've thought I was a damn' fool to have stayed on, but I was forty-six when Independence came, which is bloody early in life for a man to retire but
too old to start afresh somewhere you don't know. I didn't fancy my chances back home, at that age, and I knew the pension would go further in India than in England. I still think we were right to
stay on, though I don't think of it any longer as staying on , but just as hanging on, which people of our age and upbringing and limited talents, people who have never been really poor but never had
any real money, never inherited money, never made real money, have to do, wherever they happen to be, when they can't work anymore. I'm happier hanging on in India, not for India as India but because
I just can't merely think of it as a place where I drew my pay for 25 years of my working life, which is a hell of a long time anyway, though by rights it should have been longer.
...far transcends the events of its central action. Digging deeply within narrow boundaries, Scott gives us nothing less than a histroy of the 40-year marriage of an ill-assorted pair often at
odds yet deeply attached....The Smalleys are beautifully realized...(This) should help win for Scott...the reputation he deserves- as one of the best novelists to emerge from Britain's silver
Newsweek, Robert Towers
Not so good:
When I first read this novel about 15 years ago, the comic storyline of the larger-than-life Mrs Bhoolabhoy and her henpecked husband seemed to dominate the novel. I felt the domestic nature of
the plot made the novel feel rather lightweight in comparison to the Raj Quartet.
For full review click here
Paul Scott Booker Talk 3rd July 2012
About the author
Paul Scott was born in suburban North London in March 1920. At the outbreak of WWII, he enlisted as a private which saw him sent to India as a supply officer in 1943. He served in India and Malaya
(1943-1946) and while there he wrote poetry and drama. After a period of time as a bookkeeper he became a literary agent and published a string of novels concerned with British military figures on
duty in foreign lands. He began writing full time in 1960 and completed The Raj Quartet in 1974. He spent his final years travelling between his Hampstead home and the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma
where he was a visiting fellow. He died in 1978.