In this essay, Ramlal Agarwal discusses Staying On, a Booker Prize-winning novel by Paul Scott, concluding it to be an extraordinary novel joining the ranks of A Passage to India.
Staying On is a very poignant novel about a British couple that decides to stay in India after the British have left India and returned home. It was not a joint decision, but one taken by the male partner, Tuskar Smalley. Tuskar decided to stay on because he believed the English had held India together and he had invested his working life here, so he had a right to enjoy its benefits.
Moreover, he thought that in India he would be able to have advantages like hiring servants and living well with his meagre resources, which he would not have in England. But he did not force his decision on his wife, Lucy. He wrote to her that in her retirement she would have a pension of $ 1500 and that with $ 2000 in the bank, she could return home if she so decided. He added that she has been a good wife. Love, Tuskar. Lucy held this letter close to her heart all her life. Though she wanted to return, she could not do so without her husband, and hence she accepts Tuskar’s decision to stay.