Tony Metcalfe, Yorkshireman and retired expat, is going through a three-quarter life crisis.
Viva Espagñe – his bar at the heart of a small mountain village beyond the Costa Blanca – is failing. He wanted it to be a home away from home for British expats to enjoy some well-deserved rest under the Spanish sun. But now Brexit has the pound falling, pensions are frozen and the property crash hasn’t done them any favours. Tony loves his wife, Laney, and can’t bear to tell her of Viva’s problems. He secretly wishes he could sell the place and move back to his childhood home, but Laney would never go for it and England dredges up unresolved issues in their marriage. Besides, nobody would buy a struggling business during a recession.
Tony’s only chance is to turn his bar to profit, which looks impossible until his son, Nick, arrives for a surprise visit with his wife, Jo, and their son in tow. With the extra help, Tony has faith that things are on the up, but Jo has brought along more baggage than just their family’s suitcases. Painful revelations threaten to break apart a family already on the brink of collapse.
With the overarching theme of what it is to find home – wherever you are – Staying On is a tragi-comic geriatric coming-of-age story and a deep, loving portrait of the English working class.
‘Told with humour and enormous compassion, this is a beguiling story about broken people who have all the feelings and none of the words. Utterly captivating’ Damien Owens, author of Married to a Cave Man and Dead Cat Bounce
‘C.M. Taylor's Staying On is a trademark sweet-and-sour Mike Leigh film in novel form. As well as a fictional retread of Joe Cawley's More Ketchup than Salsa. Updating both to our worrying post-Brexit times where the shifting of boundaries forces us to question where we truly feel we belong.’ Matthew Hirtes, Author of Going Local in Gran Canaria
‘A wry take on expat life, astutely observed and deftly drawn. Peppered with humour, yet poignant and as topical as it's revealing’ Peter Kerr, bestselling author of the award-winning Snowball Oranges series
'A timely tale about expats braving the Brexit tidal wave in rural Spain. I raced through this warm-hearted, warts-and-all portrayal of a broken family, its members fighting to love one another while haunted by the past and afraid of what the future holds. Funny and thought-provoking, Staying On is an ideal summer read.' S.D. Robertson author of Time to Say Goodbye
‘A beautiful, deeply moving portrayal of a family whose current problems are largely caused by issues in their past that they are afraid to confront and what happens when they are forced to address them by outside influences… beautifully created and peopled with a fascinating cast of characters there is some fantastic use of language and imagery that I savoured throughout, but it is the gently drawn and played out family drama which is at the heart of this story and which will draw you through the book to the very last page.… This is a book about my life and your life and the life of everyone who is both unimportant but vital in the world, people who don’t do startling things or things that have newsworthy impact on anyone else, but who are central to the worlds of those around them and I wish there were more books like this in the world… I really loved the book, it affected me very deeply.’ A Little Book Problem Blog
‘Beautifully written by an author who's obviously a keen observer of people… a book I admired… I suspect that many people will love it’ Bookbag
‘Highly engaging… a sensitively written book revealing so many issues that all the family had been avoiding for many years. These have had a profound effect on every member of the family for different reasons. There has been an inability to deal with so much baggage that each member of the family has carried around for years and it has ruined their lives. The author has the ability to create likeable characters and brings them to life so you feel you really get to know them He also paints a vivid picture of life in this small community and the surrounding countryside. I really enjoyed this book it was different and a page turner. You will remember this family for a long time after reading. I have not written any spoilers as to do so would spoil the enjoyment.’ Carol Quaile, Nudge 5 stars