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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel…
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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Helen Simonson

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4,1523661,206 (3.97)652
Member:gladshack
Title:Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel
Authors:Helen Simonson
Info:Random House (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

  1. 455
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (cransell, readr)
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    White Teeth by Zadie Smith (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Readers will enjoy White Teeth and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand for their character development and humor, along with lighthearted treatment of serious topics such as race relations, religious fanaticism, self-understanding, and similar aspects of modern English life.… (more)
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» See also 652 mentions

English (366)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (374)
Showing 1-5 of 366 (next | show all)
While the plot did, eventually & circuitously, liven up towards the end of the book I found this to be a very slow read with very little interest. However, I do believe it quite captured the small town/village mentality "heard 'round the world" so to speak. ( )
  lamotamant | Jun 23, 2016 |
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson
3 stars

…..spoilers……..

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) is a bit of a 20th century throw-back. He has strong opinions about correct behavior and a distaste for much of popular culture. He is also a lonely widower who must now grieve the death of his only brother. Receiving little emotional support from his obnoxiously selfish son, Major Pettigrew finds himself attracted to the widowed Mrs. Ali, a local Pakistani shop keeper.

I wanted to like this book more than I did. I felt the book was a cross between a pleasant cross-cultural love story and a spoof of the modern English village. I enjoyed the love story and Major Pettigrew became more and more likeable as the story progressed. The humor of the story didn’t work as well for me. I felt it was heavy handed and relied too much on overdone stereotypes.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I absolutely reveled in the time I spent in Edgecombe St. Mary . . a small village in the English countryside . . visiting Major Ernest Pettigrew and the various 'n' sundry cronies, acquaintances, friends, neighbors and family members who breathed life into this book. As is often true, in small insular communities (I've lived in more than my share of them!), Major Pettigrew - as a community leader - felt he had *standards* to maintain and he did so, scrupulously - UNTIL!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a charming book . . fun, funny, poignant and well, the Major definitely grew on me as the story unfolded! I enjoyed, as well, the personality instilled into each and every character (there are many!) via the superb narration provided by Peter Altschuler - Peter absolutely nailed it - he brought Helen Simonson's characters to life!

Helen Simonson's debut novel pulls the reader into the ambiance 'n' angst of village life and, very much, into the lives of those who live there! By the time all was said and done, I was ready to pack my bags - gather up my recalcitrant cat - and relocate to the English countryside! 4.5 stars. Highly recommended. ( )
  idajo | May 8, 2016 |
It's not that it was a terrible book--it was reasonably readable and enjoyable in parts. I liked Grace and her strength and sensibleness, and I liked the stolidity of the Major. Mrs. Ali was charming. The story was reasonably interesting and attempted to address things like the clash of civilizations, which is something I experience in my own life.

But...I couldn't get rid of the sense of disjointedness. I can't pinpoint where or why, but the work didn't feel coherent as a whole. The characters were flat and I didn't 'get' them--I never got a sense of them as rounded, real people. And the events were kind of interesting as sketches, but felt shallow, never truly deep.

Wouldn't tell anyone *not* to read it, as one could do much worse. It's a light feel-good read for the beach or vacation perhaps. ( )
  emanate28 | Apr 29, 2016 |
This was such a delight to read. Simonson is especially talented with her perceptive descriptions of the characters and their quirks, of their emotions, and of the atmosphere. An elderly retired and widowed major is bereaved again with the loss of his younger brother. He is comforted by the neighbourly yet quite proper attentions of the widow Pakistani shopkeeper, and their relationship develops.
It was quite strong in the first third. There were sharply observant descriptions of the behaviours and numerous small conflicts of life in a small English village, and some was snortingly funny. It weakened a bit in the middle, starting to lose its way a bit but recovered well enough. It was warm and smartly funny. This is the author's debut novel, at the elderly age (for a first time novelist) of 45. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 366 (next | show all)
Simonson .. is having a great time with her first novel. She is unsparing in her willingness to send up her characters and their little village, and she is often downright funny – that intelligent kind of funny that catches readers by surprise and makes them re-read a sentence several times to figure out how the author managed to make them laugh out loud so unexpectedly.The book is almost always pitch-perfect in its demonstration of how ridiculous our small ignorances can be – and how magnificent we are when we rise above them.
 
This thoroughly charming novel wraps Old World sensibility around a story of multicultural conflict involving two widowed people who assume they're done with love. The result is a smart romantic comedy about decency and good manners in a world threatened by men's hair gel, herbal tea and latent racism..When depicted by the right storyteller, the thrill of falling in love is funnier and sweeter at 60 than at 16. The stakes are higher, after all, and the lovers have stored up decades of peculiarities and anxieties
 
As with the polished work of Alexander McCall Smith, there is never a dull moment but never a discordant note either. Still, this book feels fresh despite its conventional blueprint. Its main characters are especially well drawn, and Ms. Simonson makes them as admirable as they are entertaining. They are traditionally built, and that’s not just Mr. McCall Smith’s euphemism. It’s about intelligence, heart, dignity and backbone. “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” has them all.
 

» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Simonsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Altschuler, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tapia, SoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wallis, BillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Major Pettigrew was still upset about the phone call from his brother's wife and so he answered the doorbell without thinking.
Quotations
He finished his tea and rose from the table to go to his room. "But I must ask you, do you really understand what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman?" "My dear boy," said the Major. "Is there really any other kind?"
"Careful, careful," he said, feeling a splash of scalding tea on his wrist. "Passion is all very well, but it wouldn't do to spill the tea."
Too few people today appreciate and pursue the delights of civilized culture for their own sake.
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Book description
Major Ernest Pettigrew, having retired to a quiet life in Edgecombe St. Mary, raises a few eyebrows in the small English village when he begins a relationship with widow Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper.
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Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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