Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Day of the Scorpion

An update on my reading. I finished the first book of the Raj Quartet and am devouring the second, "The Day of the Scorpion," as fast as I can. It is compelling. Scott's approach is masterful: he is essentially continuing the story from the first book using a new set of characters to interact with and talk about the previous set of characters (some of whom are now dead). In doing so, he presents entirely new viewpoints on the events of the first book and so deepens our appreciation of the complexities involved. As with the first book, the writing is lyric and formal, subtle and understated. It is difficult to identify a "main character" because the novel is full of important characters who carry the story forward, but one of the chief characters, Hari Kumar, is more fully developed in the second novel and his story is riveting. I wonder how I missed this author. I have a degree in English Literature and read extensively. I love "big" books - my favorites are "Middlemarch" and "Kristen Lavransdatter" - but I missed these four. They will certainly qualify as an epic by the time I've finished all four!

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