Barbara's Reviews > Staying On

Staying On by Paul Scott
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's review
Sep 13, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: india, historical-fiction

Staying On is a novel which is at times very funny, but ultimately it's very sad. Tusker and Lucy are an English couple who remained in India after the country becomes independent in 1947. The book is set in 1972, ostensibly on one day, but the story of their entire courtship and life together, especially the last few months, unfolds. Tusker, who has ruled the household roost, is unwell. Lucy is afraid he might die, and then what will become of her? She has no real idea of their financial situation, and she has no real friends. She longs for England where she is sure she would be more at home, but in truth, she has no friends or family there either. Tusker does have a friend, Mr. Bhoolabhoy, to who he refers as Billy-Boy, married to the ample and domineering hotel owner. Mrs. Bhoolabhoy is engaged in financial machinations around the sale of the hotel and has no qualms abour kicking Tusher and Lucy out of a bungalow they rent on the hotel grounds. The story plays out as expected, and at the end, you're left with questions not only about the vividly drawn characters but about England's role in India and the the relevance of the remnant of its culture that continues to exist there.

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