I am bummed because there’s apparently only one picture of Paul Scotte available online. I keep finding a lot of pictures associated with him…especially a picture of Galway Kinnell…but also like Paul Ryan.
Anyway, this is the second novel in the Raj Quartet. And I am curious to know how far ahead he planned these novels, because this is both the continuation of the story, but also not. And in some ways it’s a deconstruction of how novels continue on stories. So the first novel is a complete circle of a novel. There’s a central event that is narrated from multiple angles, and then truth is eventually revealed to the reader, and so the literary implications are completely separate from the plot implications. The revelations of guilt and innocence change our perception, not the perception of Empire, which would have been ahistorical. The novel is cut-throat in its truth.
Now this novel takes all the work, and just presses on the wounds. The British Government cannot handle unchecked boxes, and so the injustice implications of the central event are relitigated in this novel and the quest for closure are pushed and pressed here. This is a brilliant, not retelling, and not continuance, of the events. In addition, we also get further events and perspectives that were not present in the first novel, and the novel here also shows the personal fallout of the events of the first in such a satisfying way. So all told this is the next steps, but it’s also an uncomfortable rehashing of the previous novel, without undoing its work.