Today I am handing over the blog to Mandie who has a blog tour review of Staying On by CM Taylor. Thanks to the publisher, Duckworth, for the advance review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for including us in the tour. Here is what the book is all about.
A geriatric coming-of-age story …
Retired expat, Tony Metcalfe, is going through a three-quarter-life crisis. Viva España, his bar in a mountain village beyond Spain’s Costa Blanca, is failing. Tony started the bar for the English post-war babies who retired early on good pensions – the por favors, as the Spanish call them – flocking to the dream of wine, rest and sun around the pool. But now their retirement paradise is shadowed by Brexit: the pound has fallen, pensions are frozen and the property crash happened long ago.
Tony wants to move back to enjoy the remainder of his life in his childhood home, but his tenacious wife Laney wants to stay in the happy valley and forget about England and the dark, unresolved feelings it provokes in their marriage. Sod it – he couldn’t go home even if he tried; nobody would buy an ailing bar during a recession.
But Tony’s luck is about to change when his son Nick arrives for a surprise visit with his self-possessed wife, Jo, and their son. With the extra help, Tony thinks things are on the up, but Jo has brought along more baggage than just their family’s suitcases.
Staying On is a compelling story of little and greater family secrets come to light and what it means to find home, wherever you are.
Mandie’s thoughts …
When I started to read Staying On I was not sure if I was going to enjoy it or not as to start off there were a lot of references to Brexit and I had to wonder if this was going to be a bit of a politically charged book. I can honestly say that thankfully this was not the case and I totally loved it. It is not the typical type of book I read but as I was actually looking for something different to get my interest this was the perfect read.
Tony and Laney had retired out to Spain but with Brexit looming they had seen many of their friends return home. Although they were part of the community in some respects they were still considered outsiders in others as despite having been out there for quite some time they had never learnt the language.
On the surface of it they appear to be the stereotypical ex-pats but Tony wants to go home but he knows that Laney doesn’t. The reason for this isn’t known for quite some time and when you do find out you can kind of understand why. Despite his grumpiness Tony does love Laney and lets her getaway with most things but part of me just wanted him to tell her the truth about how he felt and what was going on just to see if she really was as selfish and self-centred as she sometimes appeared.
When their son Nick and his wife Jo turn up things start to come to a head and the fractured relationships between them all are finally dealt with. I will admit that initially I didn’t take to Nick as he seemed a little selfish and only looked at how things affected him which often left his wife as piggy in the middle of it all. Not that she was an innocent bystander as she had reasons of her own for getting them out to Spain.
Despite there being some quite heart-breaking moments, there were also some chuckles along the way. What on the surface seems like a tale of retirement in sunny climes is actually a story about family secrets, repairing relationships and learning to move on from the past. If you are looking for something different then you can’t go wrong with this book in my opinion.
If you’d like a copy of the book for yourself, it is available from the following retailers:
About the Author
Writing as C M Taylor, Craig is the author of the cult Kev King novels described as‘Brilliant’ by The Sun, and ‘Horribly entertaining’ by The Mirror, which have been optioned for TV.
He’s been nominated for the British ScienceFiction book of the year, and edits fiction for a well-known publisher. Craig co-wrote the thriller, Writers Retreat, which was filmed in 2014 and premiered at the Sitges International Film Festival.
Craig is an Associate Lecturer at the OxfordInternational Centre for Publishing, and has taught widely, often on the underlying structures of narrative, and on Born Digital Literature, a particular enthusiasm that has seen him crowdfund a literary app, as well as instigate an experiment in digital literature with the British Library.
Craig lives in Oxford where he canoes, runs and hangs out with his kids.
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