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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen…

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (edition 2010)

by Helen Simonson

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4,2433691,169 (3.97)658
Title:Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Authors:Helen Simonson
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2010), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, British, romance, racism, relationships, village life

Work details

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

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» See also 658 mentions

English (369)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (377)
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
I read Helen Simonson's The Summer Before the War before I read her debut novel, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and had a similar reaction to both books. It took me a while to get into the stories, but once I did, I loved them. Simonson reveals her characters slowly. They not only grow throughout the book, but their true natures come out at a pace that causes the reader's perception of them to change. Either type of change is just as real.

In Major Pettigrew's Last Stand we are presented with a pompous, retired soldier, who demonstrates a shallow nature when his brother, Bertie, dies. Pettigrew focuses his concern on the acquisition of a gun he wants reunited with his own Churchill rifle. He wants to create a pair he can show off to his upper class, hunting buddies. But as his friendship with Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani widow, strengthens, the quality of his morality and empathy begins to show.

Although the relationship between Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali is at the core of the story, there are a number of other subplots, which all keep the pages turning. Major Pettigrew has a son, Roger, who is aggressive in his real estate career, while the Major is someone who wants things to remain the same as long as possible. There's a subplot involving the rifles and a disagreement with Bertie's widow about what should be done with this valuable inheritance. And Mrs. Ali is also at the center of a story about her relationship with her late husband's family. The result is a complex plot with plenty of important choices the characters must act on. It's a hard book to put down.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul, White Horse Regressions, and Hopatcong Vision Quest ( )
  SteveLindahl | Oct 20, 2016 |
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 | Sep 22, 2016 |
The story of a late-middle-aged widower who lives in a small typically English village. He receives some shocking news which is the catalyst for his starting to think about families, the meaning of life, and what really matters.

The book is a study in English village life with its petty arguments and biases; it’s a gentle satire; and it’s also a low-key but beautifully done romance. There are many subplots, some involving the kind of racism which may still be typical amongst some modern upper-middle class white Brits who think they’re not racist at all.. other subplots involve stresses with relatives, fights over inheritances, and culture in general.

I found some of the villagers hard to distinguish; I often forgot who was whom, but it didn’t much matter. The story is told from Major Pettigrew’s point of view and the people who matter the most to him are the ones who come across most clearly.

All in all, I found it an enjoyable, light and undemanding novel which I’m glad I read. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Sep 17, 2016 |
I was chosen by the author to do an early review of this book. Sweet, joyful,poignant, sad, frustrating, triumphant. Thank you to the author for this wonderful book. I couldn't put it down. ( )
  whybehave2002 | Jul 30, 2016 |
A romantic comedy of manners that delighted the Janeite (Austen) in me. All the dry wit and parody of Austen's work is here as well as the shallow characters (I'm looking at you, Roger) and mockery of societal ranking, updated for modern demographics. I just wish the ending hadn't been so overly dramatic. To me it didn't fit with the measured pace of the rest of the book. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 369 (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.
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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