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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen…
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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (edition 2010)

by Helen Simonson

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3,7383311,396 (3.98)601
Member:storytime930
Title:Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Authors:Helen Simonson
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2010), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, British, romance, racism, relationships, village life

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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

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» See also 601 mentions

English (327)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  All languages (334)
Showing 1-5 of 327 (next | show all)
I knew how the story was going to develop and how it would end but I had no idea how the author would get us there. It was a fun ride. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
I knew how the story was going to develop and how it would end but I had no idea how the author would get us there. It was a fun ride. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
A great story encompassing humour, emotion, fun, sadness, prejudice, love, avarice, families in conflict, all tied together with wonderful characters. An excellent tale! Highly recommended. ( )
  VivienneR | Dec 8, 2014 |
Major Pettigrew is a sixty-eight year old widower living in the quiet village of Edgecombe St. Mary near the south coast of England. When Mrs Ali, the widowed owner of the local corner shop, knocks on his door one day to collect his payment for his newspaper deliveries, she encounters a shaken major who has just had the news of his brother Bertie's sudden death. From this unpromising beginning they discover that they have more in common that they had ever realised, both sharing a love of books. But the Major's friends, and Mrs Ali's family, do not approve, and the course of true love, as ever, does not run smooth. And there is also single-parent Amina and her young son George's problems to share, as well as those of Mrs Ali's nephew Abdul Wahid...

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand the story of the sixty-eight year old widower Major Pettigrew's growing friendship for Mrs Ali, the slightly younger widow of Pakistani origin who runs the local shop, is a sweet and touching one. On the other hand ... well the first thing that I did on finishing the book was look up exactly how long the author had been living in the US. Because the main problem for me was that despite the book being supposedly set in twenty-first century Britain, the social attitudes and concerns of the inhabitants of the village of Edgecombe St. Mary are firmly those of a previous generation, people who would be in their eighties or nineties now, not in their fifties or sixties. If you took out any reference to mobile phones and the internet, I'd have set the book in the 1970's, no later. A real-life Edgecombe St. Mary today would be worrying about the influx of Romanian farm workers and Polish plumbers, not one shop run by an Asian family. As the son of an unmarried mother George is supposedly ostracised (as he says 'If you have a Mum and not a Dad, they don't play with you') because he comes from a single parent family. But this seems far fetched in the extreme when over a quarter of children in the UK live in single parent families and nearly half are born outside marriage. And I can't see rice being deemed too exotic to serve for the golf club dinner in a country where chicken tikka masala is supposed to be a national dish.

This could have been a much better book in my opinion if the author had just got the background right. I've noticed some reviewers commenting on various 'Americanisms' creeping into the text. I didn't notice too many, but there was one glaring one: Major Pettigrew's son Roger attempts to secure the rental of a cottage by waving a 'cashier's check' in the face of its owner. We don't actually have cashier's checks (and if we did they'd be spelt cheques anyway): we have banker's drafts. Nitpicking I know, but in a novel that trades on its Englishness I think you ought to get the details right. ( )
  SandDune | Oct 3, 2014 |
A delightfully charming read, with a few intriguing twists. I enjoyed every minute I spent with the Major, and found myself quite invested in outcome of the inhabitants of his village. Once finished, I was wanting to read more from this author, but alas, this seems to be the only thing out there. Will definitely be sharing this one with Book Club!
  Rigfield | Sep 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 327 (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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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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