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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warm bittersweet tragedy that may move you to tears
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...
Published on 8 Feb 2002 by L. C. Jones

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, if you like the writing style
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...
Published on 5 Jan 2007 by BookWorm


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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warm bittersweet tragedy that may move you to tears, 8 Feb 2002
By 
L. C. Jones (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Staying on (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
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Staying On' - a heartwarming comedy yet conversely tragic., 21 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Staying on (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
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, 20 April 2007
By 
Jack (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Staying On (Paperback)
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, if you like the writing style, 5 Jan 2007
By 
BookWorm "BookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Staying On (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staying On, 5 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Staying On (Paperback)
Very funny..very sad, beautifully written. The story of an enduring relationship set against the background of the removal of British authority over India. Wonderful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars V good book. But shame on the publisher., 21 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Staying On (Paperback)
This book is very good - five stars. But the publisher's blurb on the back is a travesty and the rating here is for Arrow Books. It gets the name of the main character wrong (it is Lucy not Lily Smalley) and then mis-spells the name of the fiction town where it is set. Try Pankot not Pangkot.

Paul Scott must be spinning in his far-too-early grave.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh what a tangled web we weave..., 14 Jun 2014
By 
John Goddard (Saffron Walden, Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Staying On (Kindle Edition)
It is relatively easy to write a romance where the protagonists are star-crossed teenage lovers, but far harder to write a truly moving account of love hanging on by its fingernails in the last days of a long and difficult relationship. Scott succeeds in being honest, moving, frank and touching in his account of the last two remnants of the Raj in a remote Indian town. The retired colonel 'Tusker' and his wife have stayed on, and are fading away into genteel shabbiness. The book follows just a couple of months of their lives in retirement, and whilst there is much that informs us of the complicated realities of post-colonial India, it is actually the intimate relationships which take centre stage. Tusker and Lucy in particular, the insufferable and insatiable Mrs Bhoolabuoy and her smaller than life husband, and the almost unspoken love between Ibrahim and Millie, and the new priest and Susy - all these relationships are complicated. But Lucy's tale of her first love letter, and the final realisation of what the title of this book really means are beautifully touching. This is a tale of love which survives with precious little romance, but survive it does!

Paul Scott is much better known for his earlier Raj Quartet which ITV filmed as The Jewel in the Crown. But it was Staying On which won the Booker Prize in 1977 whilst Scott was already dreadfully ill with terminal colon cancer. I have read many Booker winners, and not all were worthy of the name, but Staying On is one of the good ones. Read and enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Scott staying on, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Staying On (Paperback)
Excellent service will recommend and rate v highly look forward to buying again,have already told my freinds to visit this site
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Time Favorite, 14 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Staying On (Kindle Edition)
Just love this book, have read it many times over the years, Lucy and Tuskar are classic old colonials, the story is both funny and very sad, anyone who knows India will love this and those that don't might want to discover it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Post Raj, 11 May 2012
By 
Grame Fletcher "Grame" (Northeast UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Staying On (Kindle Edition)
Successor to his 'Raj Quartet', Scott returns to post Raj, post schism India.
Nostalgic and a little dated, it has some relevance today, with India still trying to shake off the cultural influence that British rule imposed upon the sub-continent. Now - with Indian multinational industrial companies taking over parts of former British Steel plants in the UK, and Mumbai call centres responsible for nuisance telephone calls ad nauseam, India has every right to see themselves as passing us in the 'fast lane' as broken Britain slows down and heads for the hard shoulder.

Offering no analysis of any value to the present day, the novel is a well crafted and nostalgic view of a brief period in a changing world, and is enjoyable to read.
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Staying On
Staying On by Paul Scott (Paperback - 2 Sep 1999)
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