Books: Eve of Empire

THE TOWERS OF SILENCE

by PAUL SCOTT

392 pages. William Morrow. $8.95.

An unintentional irony of Paul Scott's vast and impressive novel about the last days of the British raj in India is that, although Scott flays the British for the rigidities of their rule, the architectural scheme of his work is serenely imperial. It suggests croquet lawns and carriage drives and a degree of surface certitude that is distinctly viceregal. The Towers of Silence is the third volume of a series; a fourth book is promised to conclude the work.

Construction on this scale,...

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