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Publisher's Summary

Tusker and Lily Smalley stayed on in India. Given the chance to return ‘home’ when Tusker, once a Colonel in the British Army, retired, they chose instead to remain in the small hill town of Pankot, with its eccentric inhabitants and archaic rituals left over from the days of the Empire. Only the tyranny of their imposing landlady threatens to upset the quiet rhythm of their days. Both funny and deeply moving, 'Staying On' is a unique, engrossing portrait of the end of an empire and of a forty-year love affair.

©1977 Paul Scott (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Staying On

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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A Pleasant Meander

I was gifted this title for my birthday a few months back and was surprised to realise that I had missed reading it during my school years. First, the Raj, where I was born, has a special fascination. Secondly, I thought I'd read most of the Booker winners. Thirdly, I've read Scott's other works, so how did I miss this. Then I started reading it and got an inkling. I think I might have started this twenty years ago and just not got into it. Fortunately, times have changed and I truly enjoyed this very pleasant listen.
The Raj parts were a bit dated, a bit like Raj India now. It reminded me of my grandparents. I smelled the old decay in the early evening and the transition of a time that refuses (even to this day) to finally lie down and die.
The story really is a bit of nothing, but it is told well, with a suppressed love and a slight longing. I enjoyed the odd pidgin word and the figurative shake of a be-turbaned head.
It took me a bit to get used to Paul Shelley, but ultimately I warmed to him and he to his subject.
I will be passing this little gem onto those who love and have loved old India.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant. sensitive epilogue to the Raj Quartet

I was a huge fan of Paul Scott when his novels "The Jewel in the Crown" first started being published, waiting for each subsequent novel of the eventual Raj Quartet. Now rereading the epilogue read by Paul Shelly - who is truly a brilliant performer, I am reminded again of Scott's greatness , and his sad death at an early age.

4 people found this helpful

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An oldie but a goodie

For people of a certain age, this is a moving listen. Not having any sympathy with Colonialism doesn’t impede the enjoyment a listener can have from a story well told. The pace is of a golden age too, long gone, but for once there are no detectives or moody junior officers.
Shadows of Hari Kumar and indeed The Raj Quartet flit in and out of this story of people who are clinging to a time long past out of habit and for waning comfort.

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Great book, nicely read, but read the raj quartet first. This is in many ways a sequel.

Paul Scott was a brilliant writer and knew the late Raj very well. This book is a lovely follow-up to the Raj Quartet. Highly recommend all 5 books.

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Dreadfully boring.

Can a book be well-written but terribly dull? This book reminded me of obligatory lunches with my 98-year old great aunt, whose only interests are bridge, attending Anglican Church services and complaining about her gardener. I really tried to finish it, but finally decided that life is too short.

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Must read/listen for those who have enjoyed the Raj Quartet

This is beautifully poignant epilogue to the earlier Raj Quartet series (The Jewel in the Crown as televised), and to British India and the lives of the British in India. British racial attitudes are of course in evidence, as they were inseparable from that history, but there can be no other writer who so successfully evokes the tragedy and melancholy of what India meant to colonial Britons. Paul Scott's familiarity with a now vanished world are as essential as are Indian perspectives to recapturing the faint echoes of the Raj.

#PastMeetsPresent #Nostalgic #Heartfelt #Tearjerker #SouthAsia #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

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i felt like i was part of the characters lives

What a well written book with a rather bleak ending i was so sad to say goodbye to the characters , they were written in a way that i felt i knew them and was apart of their everyday lives. Poor poor lucy

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Bugga!

Would you listen to Staying On again? Why?

I laughed; I cried; I was moved and learned a few things along the way. What a fabulous book! Absolutely loved it! I read this book for my book club and I have to thank Celia for suggesting it. This was such a delight to read. I loved the characters, the places and the story. I recommend this book to everyone. What a gem!!!

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the interactions between the characters.

What about Paul Shelley’s performance did you like?

Paul was a phenomenal reader. He did all the accents perfectly. He made the story alive. Awesome narrator!!

If you could rename Staying On, what would you call it?

I would not change a thing.

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Paul Scott, one of greats of British literature.

What made the experience of listening to Staying On the most enjoyable?

The sensitivity, the humor, the storytelling, and language of a great British novelist.

What other book might you compare Staying On to and why?

The Short Stories of William Trevor, because of the seamless manner with which both authors move between the past. the present and the future, the internal dialogue and the external action. The sensibilities of the characters and thus the authors. Their subtlety and ability to spot the quiet moral dilemmas of ordinary lives.

Have you listened to any of Paul Shelley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, I don't believe so.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Paul Scott, author of the Raja Quartet, as well as a number of other wonderful novels, is one of the most overlooked and greatest writers of the 20th Century. In that respect he is like John Fowles, who wrote the Magus, which is perhaps one of the top five novels of the 20th Century and which sadly and inexplicitly has never been made into an audible book.

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  • Celia J.
  • 06-28-20

I loved it.

I’d read the story many years ago, I still have the book, so it was familiar to me. Having been brought up in an British Army family, living in India until 1947, the storyline struck a chord with me. The narrator is perfect, the characters all so varied, loads of dialogue, humour and pathos.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Regina Podsiadly
  • 09-29-20

captivating , philosophical and witty

heart- warming glimpse into an elderly couple's life and their daily up-and-down, bickering and caring, touching gestures

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Nakul
  • 08-06-12

Clever and touching

Staying On is a wonderful book, clever and touching, only marred by a few of the non-British characters rendered as caricatures. Shelley is a very good reader; Scott's Lucy and Tusker get another layer of depth from his characterisations of them. I recommend it enthusiastically.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Simon Clift
  • 03-03-21

A wonderful novel, wonderfully read

This is in turns funny, moving, and sad. But always brilliantly insightful and brimming with humanity. I absolutely loved it and wished it would never end. And the narration is so impeccable that it takes the novel onto an even higher plane. What a criminal shame that only the first of Paul Scott's Raj Quartet is available as an unabridged (narrated by the equally brilliant Sam Dastor.)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-17-21

Excellent reading

This is a lovely book about the end of the British in India, and the narration on this Audible version is absolutely excellent. Each character is so well portrayed, they really live as individuals.

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  • xenia watson
  • 01-15-19

review

brilliant narration, much enjoyed this brilliant book. Well worth listening too. 15th January 20 19

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  • Gary B.
  • 10-19-18

A wonderfully haunting reflection on marriage

As well as a host of other things too but central is the couple in the middle and they are an amazing pair and they are 'staying on' in an India that isn't. Great, great book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • grandma james
  • 03-27-18

Very good read

A book that I found hard to put down. A book that brought the emotions and memories together of a life lived in India from the 1930 until 1972. Sad but also happy memories intertwined in a beautiful story.

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  • Aroura Boriales
  • 10-27-17

I’d forgotten what a wonderful book!

I read Staying On years ago, I think it may have won the booker prize. I had read the Raj quartet and really enjoyed it and at that the time was a little disappointed with this post script. After the range and drama of the Quartet its quiet humanity Seemed a bit of a letdown.However I’m really pleased I bought the audiobook, a really good moving story with great characters, well read, a really worthwhile listen. Thoroughly recommended.

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  • gro bennett
  • 09-19-17

Brilliant

One of the best descriptions of a marriage I have ever read. Also the lives of the servants and their relationship with their masters was riveting.

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  • Richard
  • 08-03-19

Very poignant and very sad

Slow to start but more engaging as the story developed. Empathy, sadness and regrets all in one short novel.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kirsty
  • 03-02-21

Very sad, depressing even

Is there anyone likeable in this book - I don't think so and really should have stopped listening early on, finding it very very sad. A story of many people who had started out with ambition but who have been either ground down by life or are about to be. None of them seem to like the others very much and such a small number of characters examined in such detail became very claustrophobic. I read this as from a list of 'timeless classics'. Not one, in my opinion, and a book which I wish I had never come across.