Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1977 Booker Prize Winner

Staying On by Paul Scott


Publisher: William Heineman

Length: 215 pages

About: Retired Colonel and wife remain in India

Style: 3rd person

Where: India

When: 1972


Publisher’s synopsis:

In this sequel to The Raj Quartet, Colonel Tusker and Lucy Smalley stay on in the hills of Pankot after Indian independence deprives them of their colonial status. Finally fed up with accommodating her husband, Lucy claims a degree of independence herself. Eloquent and hilarious, she and Tusker act out class tensions among the British of the Raj and give voice to the loneliness, rage, and stubborn affection in their marriage.



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.




...far transcends the events of its central action. Digging deeply within narrow boundaries, Scott gives us nothing less than a histroy of the 40-year marriage of an ill-assorted pair often at odds yet deeply attached....The Smalleys are beautifully realized...(This) should help win for Scott...the reputation he deserves- as one of the best novelists to emerge from Britain's silver age.

Newsweek, Robert Towers


Not so good:

When I first read this novel about 15 years ago, the comic storyline of the larger-than-life Mrs Bhoolabhoy and her henpecked husband seemed to dominate the novel. I felt the domestic nature of the plot made the novel feel rather lightweight in comparison to the Raj Quartet.

For full review click here

Paul Scott Booker Talk 3rd July 2012


About the author

Paul Scott was born in suburban North London in March 1920. At the outbreak of WWII, he enlisted as a private which saw him sent to India as a supply officer in 1943. He served in India and Malaya (1943-1946) and while there he wrote poetry and drama. After a period of time as a bookkeeper he became a literary agent and published a string of novels concerned with British military figures on duty in foreign lands. He began writing full time in 1960 and completed The Raj Quartet in 1974. He spent his final years travelling between his Hampstead home and the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma where he was a visiting fellow. He died in 1978.




















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Age guide: 12








Novels by same author:




1979 television film by granada TV starring Celia Johnson and trevor Howard






2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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