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Staying On: A Novel (Phoenix Fiction) Paperback – October 1, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Fiction
  • Paperback: 215 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226743497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226743493
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Mr. Bhoolabhoy functions as management at his wife's place of business and also considers himself Tusker's best friend.
Mary E. Sibley
As I read pretty much the same description of the very same episode at the end of the book, I felt something totally different.
Elitsa Arnaudova
The author etches a finely detailed portrait of his characters and in particular of the difficult marriage of the Smalleys.
Orrin C. Judd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on October 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
If, like me, you've been meaning to read The Raj Quartet, but have been daunted by it's gargantuan bulk, this shorter sequel offers an ideal entree to Paul Scott's Anglo-Indian world. Here he takes what I understand are two very minor characters from the quartet, Colonel Tusker Smalley and his long-suffering wife Lucy, and makes their story the centerpiece of a sweetly elegiac comic novel.
The year is 1972 and the Smalleys have stayed on in Pankot, India even after Independence in 1947, less out of love of the country or it's people, than out of financial need and sheer spite on Tusker's part. Where the upper class Brits were able to just scamper home, the Smalleys represent the folk of the middle class, who felt that they had invested something in the colony and now deserved to get something out of it. As he explains to Lucy:
I know for years you've thought I was a damn' fool to have stayed on, but I was forty-six when Independence came, which is bloody early in life for a man to retire but too old to start afresh somewhere you don't know. I didn't fancy my chances back home, at that age, and I knew the pension would go further in India than in England. I still think we were right to stay on, though I don't think of it any longer as staying on , but just as hanging on, which people of our age and upbringing and limited talents, people who have never been really poor but never had any real money, never inherited money, never made real money, have to do, wherever they happen to be, when they can't work anymore. I'm happier hanging on in India, not for India as India but because I just can't merely think of it as a place where I drew my pay for 25 years of my working life, which is a hell of a long time anyway, though by rights it should have been longer.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Elitsa Arnaudova on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
In his sequel of The Raj Quartet Paul Scott depicts the life of two of the minor characters Tusker and Lucy Smalley. This is the appealing story of the last surviving members of the old school of British in Pankot, a town in India, 24 years after the Independence. Covering only a few months, it makes us witnesses of a whole lifetime. Frankly told, often causing us to feel a lump in our throats, Scott's novel skillfully pictures the emotional impact the débãcle of the British imperialism in India has on a family who chose to stay on.

It took me a while to become fully immersed in the book due to its unusual beginning. The very first page tells of the death of Tusker Smalley, which, in fact, is also the end of that elegiac psychological novel. As I read pretty much the same description of the very same episode at the end of the book, I felt something totally different. Since Tusker was already a friend of mine, his ways not just a weird old man's habitudes, his life not merely a consecution of events, but the result of unfavourable circumstances and crucial decisions, his death grieved me deeply.

The divergence between the story and the plot draws us into a mazy time puzzle, which we have to arrange for ourselves. We are shown into the all-embracing socio-historical setting both before and after the Independence in 1947 through the eyes of Mr and Mrs Smalley, their servant Ibrahim, and the manager of the hotel where they live, Mr Bhoolobhoy. The various perspectives contribute to the comprehension and comprehensiveness of this fading Anglo-Indian portrait of a whole civilization in miniature.

The character of Lucy Smalley is similarly developed through a number of retrospections.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Terrill on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I would not rank this lovely novel with the Raj Quartet in power or scope, but it is certainly a delightful read. It is tragi-comic... comic in the characters Scott presents to us; tragic (or at least sad) in its portrayal of a marriage coming to its natural end.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1997
Format: Audio Cassette
Though not the same characters of the Raj Quartet, this book continues the saga of British colonials in India, those who stayed on after India achieved its independence. Interesting reading now with Hong Kong being ceded to Red China this month. Many people there who spent their lives in the last British outpost will be staying on. It makes for both relevant and comparative reading at the present time
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Walter Simpson on July 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a humorously affectionate sequel to Paul Scott's intriguing account of life in India under British colonial rule between 1942 and eventual independence in 1947. We meet Colonel 'Tusker' Smalley (Indian Army Rtd) who has elected to stay on at the old hill station of Pankot. The novel begins at the end, with Tusker's death in 1972. We meet the Bhoolabhoys, owners of Smith's, the hotel where Tusker and his wife Lucy, occupy an annexe - or small bungalow. The formidable and rich Mrs Bhoolabhoy is the owner and dominates her inoffensive husband. On Monday evenings Mr Boolabhoy drinks and reminisces wirh Tusker, who still tends to patronize Mr Bhoolabhoy, who doesn't seem to mind and enjoys listening to his stories. Tusker regularly fires his servant, Ibrahim who takes it philosophically, knowing he will soon be re-hired. On this last occasion Ibrahim hands Tusker a letter from management (Mrs Boolabhoy) just before he - Tusker - expires. One suspects the letter contains a non renewal of tenancy notice, the culmination of an ongoing dispute over fees between Mrs Boolabhoy and Tusker. The idiosyncrasies of all the characters, from the choleric Tusker to the philosophical Ibrahim and the explosive Mrs Boolabhoy, are treated amusingly, affectionately and with great skill.
We also catch up with the Laytons who also resided in Pankot - from the Raj Quartet. We learn that Lt-Col Layton has died - his snobbish wife, Mildred having predeceased him. He was father to Sarah and the tragic Susan, who took major roles during those tumultuous times. They, however, didn't stay on, but retired to their home, Combe Lodge Combe Magnus, Surrey. Guy Perron, another major character, had married Sarah Layton - the real hero and heroine of The Raj Quartet.
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Staying On: A Novel (Phoenix Fiction) + Six Days in Marapore: A Novel + A Division of Spoils (Repr of 1975 Ed) (Raj Quartet/Paul Scott, 4) (Phoenix Fiction)
Price for all three: $44.65

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