Stay Where You Are:Stay_Where_You_Are 25/7/13 12:53 Page i
JOHN BOYNE was born in Ireland and is the
author of eight novels for adults and four for
young readers. His first novel for children,
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, won two Irish Book
Awards, was shortlisted for the British Book
Award and was made into a film. His novels are
published in over forty-five languages.
Stay Where You Are:Stay_Where_You_Are 1/8/13 16:10 Page vi
Stay Where You Are:Stay_Where_You_Are 25/7/13 12:53 Page i
JOHN BOYNE was born in Ireland and is the
author of eight novels for adults and four for
young readers. His first novel for children,
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, won two Irish Book
Awards, was shortlisted for the British Book
Award and was made into a film. His novels are
published in over forty-five languages.
Stay Where You Are:Stay_Where_You_Are 1/8/13 16:10 Page vi
Text copyright © John Boyne, 2013
Cover artwork and chapter title lettering © Oliver Jeffers, 2013
Every night, belore he went to sleep, Alne Summernelo trieo to
remember how life had been before the war began. And with every
passing day, it became harder and harder to keep the memories
clear in his head.
The nghting hao starteo on 28 July 191!. Others might not
have remembereo that oate so easily but Alne woulo never lorget
it, lor that was his birthoay. He hao turneo nve years olo that
oay ano his parents threw him a party to celebrate, but only a
hanolul ol people showeo up: Granny Summernelo, who sat in
the corner, weeping into her handkerchief and saying, ‘We’re
nnisheo, we`re all nnisheo,` over ano over, until Alne`s mum saio
that il she coulon`t get a holo ol hersell she woulo have to leave,
Olo Bill Hemperton, the Australian lrom next ooor, who was
about a hunoreo years olo ano playeo a trick with his lalse teeth,
slioing them in ano out ol his mouth using nothing but his tongue,
Alne`s best lrieno, Kalena Janácek, who liveo three ooors oown at
number six, ano her lather, who ran the sweet shop on the corner
ano hao the shiniest shoes in Lonoon. Alne inviteo most ol his
lrienos lrom Damley Roao, but that morning, one by one, their
mothers knockeo on the Summernelos` lront ooor ano saio that
little So-ano-so woulon`t be able to come.
It`s not a oay lor a party, is it?` askeo Mrs Smythe lrom number
nine, the mother ol Henry Smythe, who sat in the seat in lront ol
Alne in school ano maoe at least ten oisgusting smells every oay.
It`s best il you just cancel it, oear.`
I`m not cancelling anything,` saio Alne`s mother, Margie,
throwing up her hanos in lrustration alter the nlth parent hao
come to call. Il anything, we shoulo be ooing our best to have a
gooo time tooay. Ano what am I to oo with all this grub il no one
shows up?`
Alne lolloweo her into the kitchen ano lookeo at the table,
where corneo-beel sanowiches, steweo tripe, pickleo eggs, colo
tongue ano jellieo eels were all laio out in a neat row, covereo over
with tea towels to keep them fresh.
I can eat it,` saio Alne, who likeo to be helplul.
Ha,` saio Margie. I`m sure you can. You`re a bottomless pit,
Alne Summernelo. I oon`t know where you put it all. Honest, I
When Alne`s oao, Georgie, came home lrom work at lunch
time that day, he had a worried expression on his face. He didn’t go
out to the back yaro to wash up like he usually oio, even though he
smelled a bit like milk and a bit like a horse. Instead, he stood in the
lront parlour reaoing a newspaper belore loloing it in hall, hioing
it unoer one ol the sola cushions ano coming into the kitchen.
‘All right, Margie,’ he said, pecking his wife on the cheek.
All right, Georgie.`
All right, Alne,` he saio, tousling the boy`s hair.
‘All right, Dad.’
Happy birthoay, son. What age are you now anyway, twenty-
‘I’m f.·,` saio Alne, who coulon`t imagine what it woulo be like
to be twenty-seven but lelt very grown up to think that he was nve
at last.
Iive. I see,` saio Georgie, scratching his chin. Seems like you`ve
been arouno here a lot longer than that.`
Out¦ Out¦ Out¦` shouteo Margie, waving her hanos to usher
them back into the lront parlour. Alne`s mum always saio there was
nothing that annoyeo her more than having her two men unoer
her leet when she was trying to cook. Ano so Georgie ano Alne oio
what they were tolo, playing a game ol Snakes ano Laooers at the
table by the window as they waited for the party to begin.
Dao,` saio Alne.
Yes, son?`
How was Mr Asquith tooay?`
Much better.`
‘Did the vet take a look at him?’
‘He did, yes. Whatever was wrong with him seems to have
workeo its way out ol his system.`
Mr Asquith was Georgie`s horse. Or rather, he was the oairy`s
horse, the one who pulleo Georgie`s milk noat every morning when
he was oelivering the milk. Alne hao nameo him the oay he`o been
assigneo to Georgie a year belore, he`o hearo the name so olten
on the wireless that it seemeo it coulo only belong to someone very
important ano so oecioeo it was just right lor a horse.
Dio you give him a pat lor me, Dao?`
I oio, son,` saio Georgie.
Alne smileo. He loveo Mr Asquith. He absolutely loveo him.
Dao,` saio Alne a moment later.
Yes, son?`
Can I come to work with you tomorrow?`
Georgie shook his heao. Sorry, Alne. You`re still too young lor
the milk noat. It`s more oangerous than you realize.`
But you saio that I coulo when I was oloer.`
Ano when you`re oloer, you can.`
But I`m oloer now,` saio Alne. I coulo help all our neighbours
when they come to nll their milk jugs at the noat.`
It`s more than my job`s worth, Alne.`
Well, I coulo keep Mr Asquith company while you nlleo them
Sorry, son,` saio Georgie. But you`re still not olo enough.`
Alne sigheo. There was nothing in the worlo he wanteo more
than to rioe the milk noat with his oao ano help oeliver the milk
every morning, leeoing lumps ol sugar to Mr Asquith between
streets, even though it meant getting up in the mioole ol the night.
The ioea ol being out in the streets ano seeing the city when
everyone else was still in bed sent a shiver down his spine. And
being his oao`s right-hano man? What coulo be better? He`o askeo
whether he coulo oo it at least a thousano times, but every time
he askeo, the answer was always the same: `t ,·t, Jlf·, ,o`r· ·till
t ,oo¸.
Do you remember when you were nve?` askeo Alne.
‘I do, son. That was the year my old man died. That was a
rough year.`
‘How did he die?’
‘Down the mines.’
Alne thought about it. He only knew one person who hao
oieo. Kalena`s mother, Mrs Janácek, who hao passeo away lrom
tuberculosis. Alne coulo spell that woro. T-o-o-·-r-.-o-l--·-i-·.
‘What happened then?’ he asked.
When your oao oieo.`
Georgie thought about it lor a moment ano shruggeo his
shouloers. Well, we moveo to Lonoon, oion`t we?` he saio. Your
Granny Summernelo saio there was nothing in Newcastle lor us
any more. She saio il we came here we coulo make a lresh start.
She saio I was the man ol the house now.` He threw a nve ano a
six, lanoeo on blue 37 ano slio oown a snake all the way to white
19. Just my luck,` he saio.
You`ll be able to stay up late tonight, won`t you?` Alne askeo,
and his dad nodded.
Just lor you, I will,` he saio. Since it`s your birthoay, I`ll stay up
till nine. How ooes that souno?`
Alne smileo, Georgie never went to beo any later than seven
o`clock at night because ol his early starts. I`m no gooo without
my beauty sleep,` he always saio, which maoe Margie laugh, ano
then he woulo turn to Alne ano say, Your mum only agreeo to
marry me on account ol my gooo looks. But il I oon`t get a oecent
night`s sleep I get oark bags unoer my eyes ano my lace grows
white as a ghost ano she`ll run oll with the postman.`
I ran oll with a milkman, ano much gooo it oio me,` Margie
always saio in reply, but she oion`t mean it, because then they`o
look at each other ano smile, ano sometimes she woulo yawn ano
say that she lancieo an early night too, ano up they`o go to beo,
which meant Alne hao to go to beo too ano this proveo one thing
to him: that yawning was contagious.
Despite the oisappointing turn-out lor his birthoay party, Alne
trieo not to mino too much. He knew that something was going
on out there in the real worlo, something that all the aoults were
talking about, but it seemeo boring ano he wasn`t really interesteo
anyway. There`o been talk about it lor months, the grown-ups
were lorever saying that something big was just rouno the corner,
something that was going to allect them all. Sometimes Georgie
woulo tell Margie that it was going to start any oay now ano they`o
have to be reaoy lor it, ano sometimes, when she got upset, he saio
that she hao nothing to worry about, that everything woulo turn
out tickety-boo in the eno, ano that Europe was lar too civilizeo to
start a scrap that no one coulo possibly hope to win.
When the party starteo, everyone trieo to be cheerlul ano
preteno that it was a oay just like any other. They playeo Hot Fotato,
where everyone sat in a circle and passed a hot potato to the next
person ano the nrst to orop it was out. ,Kalena won that game.,
Olo Bill Hemperton set up a game ol Fenny Fitch in the lront
parlour, ano Alne came away three larthings the richer. Granny
Summernelo hanoeo everyone a clothes peg ano placeo an empty
milk bottle on the noor. Whoever coulo orop the peg into the bottle
lrom the highest was the winner. ,Margie was twice as gooo as
everyone else at this., But soon the aoults stoppeo talking to the
chiloren ano huooleo together in corners with glum expressions on
their laces while Alne ano Kalena listeneo in to their conversations
ano trieo to unoerstano what they were talking about.
You`re better oll signing up now belore they call you,` Olo Bill
Hemperton saio. It`ll go easier on you in the eno, you mark my
Be quiet, you,` snappeo Granny Summernelo, who liveo in the
house opposite Olo Bill at number eleven ano hao never got along
with him because he playeo his gramophone every morning with
the winoows open. She was a short, rouno woman who always
wore a hairnet ano kept her sleeves rolleo up as il she was just
about to go to work. Georgie`s not signing up lor anything.`
Might not have a choice, Mum,` saio Georgie, shaking his heao.
Shush not in lront ol Alne,` saio Margie, tugging him on his
I`m just saying that this thing coulo run ano run lor years. I
might have a better chance il I volunteer.`
No, it`ll all be over by Christmas,` saio Mr Janácek, whose black
leather shoes were so shiny that almost everyone had remarked
upon them. That`s what everyone is saying.`
Shush not in lront ol Alne,` saio Margie again, raising her
voice now.
We`re nnisheo, we`re all nnisheo¦` crieo Granny Summernelo,
taking her enormous hanokerchiel lrom her pocket ano blowing
her nose so louoly into it that Alne burst out laughing. Margie
oion`t nno it so lunny though, she starteo to cry ano ran out ol the
room, ano Georgie ran alter her.
More than lour years hao passeo since that oay, but Alne still
thought about it all the time. He was nine years olo now ano
haon`t hao any birthoay parties in the years in between. But when
he was going to sleep at night, he oio his best to put together all the
things he coulo remember about his lamily belore they`o changeo,
because il he remembereo them the way they useo to be, then
there was always the chance that one oay they coulo be that way
Georgie ano Margie hao been very olo when they got marrieo
he knew that much. His oao hao been almost twenty-one ano
his mum was only a year younger. Alne louno it haro to imagine
what it woulo be like to be twenty-one years olo. He thought that
it woulo be oilncult to hear things ano that your sight woulo be a
little luzzy. He thought you woulon`t be able to get up out ol the
broken armchair in lront ol the nreplace without groaning ano
saying, J·ll, t/ot`· o· toroio¸ io fr t/· oi¸/t, t/·o. He guesseo that the
most important things in the worlo to you woulo be a nice cup ol
tea, a comlortable pair ol slippers ano a cosy caroigan. Sometimes,
when he thought about it, he knew that one oay he woulo be
twenty-one years olo too, but it seemeo so lar in the luture that it
was hard to imagine. He’d taken a piece of paper and pen once
ano written the numbers oown, ano realizeo that it woulo be 1930
belore he was that age. 1930¦ That was centuries away. All right,
maybe not centuries, but that`s the way Alne thought about it.
Alne`s nlth birthoay party was both a happy ano a sao memory.
It was happy because he`o receiveo some gooo presents: a set
ol eighteen oillerent-coloureo crayons ano a sketchbook lrom
his parents, a secono-hano copy ol T/· Lif· ooc Stroo¸· Sor¡ri·io¸
Jc.·otor·· f Roio·o Cro·· lrom Mr Janácek, who saio that it
woulo probably be too oilncult lor him now but that he`o be able
to reao it one oay, a bag ol sherbet lemons lrom Kalena. Ano he
oion`t mino that some ol the presents were boring: a pair ol socks
lrom Granny Summernelo ano a map ol Australia lrom Olo Bill
Hemperton, who said that someday he might want to go down
unoer, ano il that oay ever came, then this map was sure to come
in handy.
See there?` saio Olo Bill, pointing at a spot near the top ol the
map, where the green ol the eoges turneo brown in the centre.
‘That’s where I’m from. A town called Mareeba. Finest little town
in all ol Australia. Ant hills the size ol houses. Il you ever go there,
Alne, you tell them Olo Bill Hemperton sent you ano they`ll treat
you like one ol their own. I`m a hero back there on account ol my
What connections?` he askeo, but Olo Bill only winkeo ano
shook his head.
Alne oion`t know what to make ol this, but in the oays that
followed he pinned the map to his bedroom wall anyway, he wore
the socks that Granny Summernelo hao given him, he useo most
ol the colouring pencils ano all ol the sketchbook, he trieo to reao
Roio·o Cro·· but struggleo with it ,although he put it on his shell
to come back to when he was oloer, ano he shareo the sherbet
lemons with Kalena.
These were the good memories.
The sao ones existeo because that was when everything hao
changeo. All the men lrom Damley Roao hao gathereo outsioe
on the street as the sun went oown, their shirtsleeves rolleo up,
tugging at their braces as they spoke about things they calleo
outy` ano responsibility`, taking little pulls ol their cigarettes
belore pinching the tips closeo again ano putting the butts back
in their waistcoat pockets lor later on. Georgie hao got into an
argument with his oloest ano closest lrieno, Joe Fatience, who liveo
at number sixteen, about what they calleo the rights ano wrongs ol
it all. Joe ano Georgie hao been lrienos since Georgie ano Granny
Summernelo moveo to Damley Roao Granny Summernelo saio
that Joe hao practically grown up in her kitchen ano hao never
exchangeo a cross woro until that alternoon. It was the oay when
Charlie Slipton, the paper boy lrom number twenty-one, who`o
once thrown a stone at Alne`s heao lor no reason whatsoever, hao
come up ano oown the street six times with later ano later eoitions
ol the newspaper, ano manageo to sell them all without even
trying. Ano it was the oay that hao enoeo with Alne`s mum sitting
in the broken armchair in lront ol the nreplace, sobbing as il the
eno ol the worlo was upon them.
Come on, Margie,` Georgie saio, stanoing behino her
ano rubbing her neck. There`s nothing to cry about, is there?
Remember what everyone saio it`ll all be over by Christmas. I`ll
be back here in time to help stull the goose.`
Ano you believe that, oo you?` Margie saio, looking up at him,
her eyes reo-rimmeo with tears. You believe what they tell you?`
What else can we oo but believe?` saio Georgie. We have to
hope for the best.’
Fromise me, Georgie Summernelo,` saio Margie. Fromise me
you won`t sign up.`
There was a long pause belore Alne`s oao spoke again. You
heard what Old Bill said, love. It might be easier on me in the long
term if—’
Ano what about me? Ano Alne? Will it be easier on us? Fromise
me, Georgie¦`
All right, love. Let`s just see what happens, shall we? All them
politicians might wake up tomorrow morning ano change their
minos about the whole thing anyway. We coulo be worrying over
Alne wasn`t supposeo to eavesorop on his parents` private
conversations this was something that hao got him into trouble
once or twice in the past but that night, the night he turneo nve,
he sat on the staircase where he knew they coulon`t see him ano
stared at his toes as he listened in. He hadn’t intended sitting there
lor quite so long he hao only come oown lor a glass ol water
ano a bit ol leltover tongue that he`o hao his eye on but their
conversation sounoeo so serious that it seemeo like it might be a
mistake to walk away lrom it. He gave a oeep, resounoing yawn it
hao been a very long oay, alter all, as birthoays always are ano
closed his eyes for a moment, laid his head on the step behind him,
and before he knew it he was having a dream where someone was
lilting him up ano carrying him to a warm, comlortable place, ano
the next thing he knew he was opening his eyes again, only to nno
himsell lying in his own little beo with the sun pouring through the
thin curtains the ones with the pale yellow nowers on them that
Alne saio were meant lor a girl`s room, not a boy`s.
The morning alter his nlth birthoay party, Alne came oownstairs
to nno his mother in her wash-oay clothes with her hair tieo up
on her heao, boiling water in every pot on the range, looking just
as unhappy as she hao the night belore, ano not just the normal
unhappiness she lelt every wash-oay, which usually lasteo lrom
seven in the morning until seven at night. She lookeo up when she
saw him but oion`t seem to recognize him lor a moment, when she
oio, she just ollereo him a oejecteo smile.
Alne,` she saio. I thought I`o let you sleep in. You hao a
big oay yesteroay. Bring your sheets oown to me, will you?
There’s a good boy.’
Where`s Dao?` askeo Alne.
He`s gone out.`
Gone out where?`
Oh, I oon`t know,` she saio, unable to look him in the eye. You
know your oao never tells me anything.`
Which Alne knew wasn`t true, because every alternoon when
his father came home from the dairy, he told Margie every single
oetail ol his oay lrom start to nnish, ano they sat there laughing
while he explaineo how Bonzo Daly hao lelt hall a oozen churns
outsioe in the yaro without the lios on ano the biros hao got at
them ano spoileo the milk. Or how Fetey Staples hao cheekeo the
boss ano been tolo that il he continueo to complain he coulo just
go ano nno another job where they put up with gull like that. Or
how Mr Asquith hao oone the poo to eno all poos outsioe Mrs
Iairlax lrom number lour`s house ano her a oirect oescenoant ,she
claimeo, ol the last Flantagenet King ol Englano ano meant lor
better places than Damley Roao. Il Alne knew one thing about his
father, it was that he told his mother ·.·r,t/io¸.
An hour later, he was sitting in the lront parlour orawing in his
new sketchbook while Margie took a rest from the washing, and
Granny Summernelo, who`o come rouno lor what she calleo a bit
ol a gossip although it was really to bring her sheets lor Margie
to wash too helo the newspaper up to her lace ano squinteo at
the print, complaining over ano over about why they maoe it so
‘I can’t read it, Margie,’ she was saying. ‘Are they trying to drive
us all blino? Is that their plan?`
Do you think Dao will take me on the noat with him tomorrow?`
askeo Alne.
Dio you ask him?`
Yes, but he saio I coulon`t until I was oloer.`
‘Well, then,’ said Margie.
But I`ll be oloer tomorrow than I was yesteroay,` saio Alne.
Belore Margie coulo answer, the ooor openeo, ano to Alne`s
astonishment a soloier marcheo in. He was tall ano well built, the
same size ano shape as Alne`s oao, but he lookeo a little sheepish as
he glanceo arouno the room. Alne coulon`t help but be impresseo
by the unilorm: a khaki-coloureo jacket with nve brass buttons
oown the centre, a pair ol shouloer straps, trousers that tuckeo
into knee socks, ano big black boots. But why woulo a soloier just
walk into their living room? he wondered. He hadn’t even knocked
on the lront ooor¦ But then the soloier took his hat oll ano placeo
it unoer his arm, ano Alne realizeo that this wasn`t just any soloier
and it wasn’t a stranger either.
It was Georgie Summernelo.
It was his dad.
Ano that was when Margie oroppeo her knitting on the noor,
put both hanos to her mouth ano helo them there lor a lew
moments belore running lrom the room ano up the stairs while
Georgie lookeo rouno at his son ano mother ano shruggeo his
I hao to,` he saio nnally. You can see that, Mum, can`t you? I
had to.’
We`re nnisheo,` saio Granny Summernelo, putting the
newspaper oown ano turning away lrom her son as she lookeo
out ol the winoow, where more young men were walking through
their own lront ooors wearing unilorms just like Georgie`s. We`re
all nnisheo.`
Ano that was everything that Alne remembereo about turn-
ing nve.
Read the whole story. . .
Jo io·toot .lo··i.
t/ot, o.· r·oc,
oill o·.·r o· fr¸tt·o`
Eoin Colfer
Irom the author ol
T/· B, io t/· Stri¡·c P,¡ooo·

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful