A Division of the Spoils


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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.

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Nov 13, 2008

A crowning literary achievement

Paul Scott's Raj Quartet is one of the masterworks of the 20th century. While panned during his lifetime by critics, the 4 novels have stood the test of time and have garnered many kudos in the years following Scott's death. The Division of the Spoils is the last book of the series and it is the best of the lot. Scott delves deeply into the psyches of his characters; through their thoughts they become unique individuals with a kalaidoscope of differing perceptions about race relations and the imposition of the British Raj in a country that has finally come into it's own. The book itself is an allegory which points to the corruption that results when one country dominates another. The Division of the Spoils introduces a new character, Guy Perron, and follows up on the life of Ronald Merrick and the Layton family. All of their lives are intricately linked and the reader finally is drawn into the aftermath of the Daphne Manners rape case and the fallout for the lives it touched. This book is amazing in it's scope. I gained increased understand about the conflict between the Hindus and the Muslims which resulted in the splitting of Pakistan and India from the former British Raj.
If I was stranded on a desert island, I would only hope that I could have this novel in my possession.

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