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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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3,8593371,339 (3.98)616
Member:gladshack
Title:Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel
Authors:Helen Simonson
Info:Random House (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 368 pages
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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

  1. 425
    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 616 mentions

English (335)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (343)
Showing 1-5 of 335 (next | show all)
This was such a pleasant treat! Beautiful descriptive writing set in an English Village and vivid cast of characters that were brought to life, each unique and so believable. A touch of humor, even laugh out loud at times, lessons of civility and the delightful love story of unlikely partners. Loved, loved, loved this story! There is definitely a sequel waiting to be told - I wasn't ready for the story to end. ( )
  booklovers2 | Aug 25, 2015 |
I read this book for the first time last June while recovering from surgery. I just re-read the entire book for a book club discussion. I liked it just as much the second time. It is the uplifting story of a retired British major living in an English village and facing the pressures of modern society and change, personified in his exceptionally rude and stereotyped adult son, Roger. As a counterpoint to his rudeness, there is the genteel and gracious Pakistani shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali. I read one review that referrd to the "transformative possibilities of courtesy and kindness," and the reader sees that as Major Pettigrew addresses issues of prejudice, religious and cultural differences, and graceful aging. In many ways this is a typical love story, but with such a charming way of telling the story, Helen Simonson has found a fan in me. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
I love Simonson's writing style in this book. The understated way she portrays emotions makes them feel real, and the humor is a delight. Sometimes the transitions between scenes are a little rough, and some of the action changes direction dramatically and abruptly, which I found a little jarring. Also, the ending...without spoiling anything, I'll just say it's just a little too crazily dramatic for my tastes. I suppose it sort of fits the personalities involved, but I would have preferred if the ending had stuck with the understated tone of the rest of the novel.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed how this story addresses the intersection of personal love and the public sphere, the negative power of tribalism, and the difficulty of knowing the right thing to do (or having the strength to do the right thing when we know what it is).

I took a little break from the dense reading I'm doing for my class on the Qur'an to read this book and was pleasantly surprised to have a little bit of tie-in between the two. Those little synchronicities make me smile. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jul 29, 2015 |
A very charming love story set in a British village. Major Pettigrew, a retired military man is a stodgy widower who is set in his ways and in the ways of his tightly knit, insular community. With the death of his brother, he encounters a number of events that open his eyes to his life of mundane and humdrum routine. One of these events is his burgeoning friendship with Mrs. Ali, a local storekeeper of a certain age and herself a widower. As he and Mrs. Ali become closer and closer, the people of the village and his materialistic and very snobby son begin to look askance at the relationship between this firmly conventional and traditional Englishman with a proud military family history and Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani woman raised in England with a very traditional family of her own. The result is a sweet mix of comedy of errors combined with biting observations on the intolerance of people usually in the name of tradition. Will Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali’s love triumph over narrow-mindedness? In his last stand, Major Pettigrew provides the answer in this sharp but poignant look at values and mores. ( )
  plt | Jul 18, 2015 |
Very nicely observed and executed romantic comedy about a retired major living in a Sussex village who forms an unlikely friendship with Mrs Ali, the widow who runs the local shop. Nothing very profound, but plenty of nice one-liners and a pleasing absence of wrong notes. And characters who are never quite stereotypes. High-quality light fiction of a sort you don't often find outside Scotland these days. ( )
  thorold | Jun 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 335 (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 (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Simonsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Altschuler, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wallis, BillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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)

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