21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
'Staying On' - a heartwarming comedy yet conversely tragic.,
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.