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Archive for the ‘The Raj Quartet’ Category

The Towers of SilenceThe Towers of Silence by Paul Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good read for people who love the Raj. Out and out a book about a small piece of life in the Raj.

The book is about a lady who has retired as the Superintendent of a school Ms. Barbara Batchelor and is on the lookout for a place to stay when she finds an advertisement for a Paying Guest with a widow in one of the cantonments. The book is set during the time the World War is fought.

She replies and gets a positive response saying she should come and try it out as a three week vacation and if they are compatible with each other a permanent arrangement could be made.
The lady goes to this place and slowly but surely falls in love with the place along with the taciturn widow who spends most of her time tending to the rose garden which is a part of the bungalow.

They are assisted by a “mali” and a helping hand called Aziz who has been around for long years.
The relationship becomes complicated when the widow’s step-son’s wife and their two daughters enter the scene. The step-son is a Prisoner of War somewhere in Africa. The step-daughter-in-law is unhappy with the Paying Guest staying with her step-mother-in-law.

The book goes on with a set of incidents that happen including the wedding of the younger daughter, he becoming a widow and giving birth to a son soon after her aunt’s death and her going through a depression.

The elder of the two daughters builds a good relationship with Ms. Barbara while the second one stays away.

The book ends with the culmination of the second world war. Ms. Barbara dies on the same day the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

It brings out how some of the English were taken up by the Indian way of life and how they understood them better than others who tended to look down upon the Indians as heathen and meant to be subservient.

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