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Staying on Hardcover – Large Print, Nov 1978

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 530 pages
  • Publisher: John Curley & Associates; Large type edition edition (Nov 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0893401579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0893401573
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,398,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Staying On covers only a few months but it carries the emotional impact of a lifetime, even a civilisation" Philip Larkin "Certainly his funniest and, I think, his best. it is a first-class book and deserves to be remembered for a long time" Evening Standard "One of the most cherished books of the last quarter-century. It is good to re-read it for its humour and pathos as well as its wonderful description of the legacy of the Raj" Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

From the author of the Raj Quartet - dramatised for Radio Four The winner of the Booker Prize 'A rich and joyful book' - Sunday Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By L. C. Jones on 8 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a splendid and touching story of a couple of British colonists who 'stay on' after the Raj ends in India, and that country gains independence from Britain. Colonel 'Tusker' and his wife are both advanced in years and it made little sense for them to pull out. The book begins with Tusker's death. A stark opening. The timeline is then turned back and we are taken through the events which, in the end, culminate in Tusker's death. By the time he dies again, Paul Scott has endeared the blustery old man to his readers to such an extent that it is a devastating blow. The power and engagement of Scott's writing is such that the reader almost forgets that Tusker is already dead, and thus his passing comes as a great shock. This novel has the curious accolade of being the first to ever make me cry. More than simply a portrait of two inviduals who decide to ride out the turning tide of history, this is a delicate and warm tale of human dignity and pride. Tusker and his wife once enjoyed tea with the elite of Imperial administrators, the Raj leaders themselves, but now find themselves relegated to a small bungalow in conditions that are beneath them. Their stoic and almost heroic endurance of their fate is a touching encounter which is perhaps not only a story of two individuals, but representative of the empire as a whole. Tusker and his wife are spent forces, with no real control over their destiny, as much as they wish otherwise and act to try to hold on to some power over their lives. Despite this, their stand is not a depressing one, rather it is bursting with vitality, however futile. Staying On will appeal especially to the traditional British sympathy for the underdog, but is a tremendous work of literature that I would recommend to anyone.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jun 1999
Format: Paperback
'Staying On' by Paul Scott presents a rich and colourful description of the life of a retired Sahib. Various perspectives are used by Scott to denote India's changing times, and the effect upon all members of society. The reader experiences extremes of emotions: from pathos to comedy, from a tragic sense of loss to a heartwarming elation. There is a comic division between the native Indian and the retired Colonialists, which results in the presentation of a society of instability. Hysterically humorous characters such as the Capitalist Mrs Bhoolabuoy and her naively weak husband add a bittersweetness to the tragedy of Tusker's death. On the more serious aspect of the novel, Tusker, the retired Army General, and his wife lead separate lives in the knowledge that in living together they are living apart. They are emotionally independent, but physically dependent upon the other's physical presence. The reader begins the novel knowing that Tusker is dead, and the plot backtracks to the past. Antidotes are related to us, and we experience a turbulent journey through a mundane yet emotionally charged environment. The comedy is sweet, the tragedy is bitter and the reader feels both emotions in the reading of this exquisite novel. This is a novel full of glorious comedy genius, but a heartfelt loss is surely felt by all who read it.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jack on 20 April 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A tremendously moving and elegiac book that somehow manages to cover British colonial life in a way that does not sound insulting or racist in a post-colonial world. I read this on holiday along with a stack of books from more contemporary (and award winning) authors writing on similar themes and thought that in its subtle and gently amusing way it could give all of the young guns some lessons in how to write a book which covers both big themes and small affairs of the heart. The ending was almost unbearably sad. The only reason it's not a five-star rating is that like some of the other reviewers I got a bit impatient with some of the stream-of-consciousness sentences that were supposed to represent the characters when they were thinking - but otherwise this is a wonderful book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Jan 2007
Format: Paperback
I didn't fall in love with this book, but this is largely due to personal preference to do with style. It's well written (which I can appreciate even if I don't particularly like the style) and the subject matter interesting. Covering a period of time that is already disappearing into the depths of history, there is a lot of interest in here about India, Britain, and a whole way of life that no longer exists. This was of particular interest to me as a younger reader.

The characters are three dimensional and well drawn, and the book is quite engrossing. There isn't a great deal of storyline, but it's one of those books where the fact that nothing much happens doesn't seem to matter.

My problem with the book was with the style. If you like 'stream of consciousness' type writing - long sentences, with rambling thoughts and lots of diversions from the main topic, and not much regard for punctuation, you will like this. There are plenty of incidences of it, though it does not compose the entire story. I personally do not like this, hence my reduced enjoyment of the book. If you like James Joyce or Salman Rushdie, you will probably like this book too. I also found all the jumping around in time a bit confusing.

On the whole, a good read, especially if you like the style, and I can understand why it won the Booker. Definitely a good book to read if you are interested in India, history or colonialism.
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