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

by Helen Simonson

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3,6473241,449 (3.98)590
Member:nbermudez
Title:Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel
Authors:Helen Simonson
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

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» See also 590 mentions

English (320)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  All languages (327)
Showing 1-5 of 320 (next | show all)
This was a charming, but also absorbing book. The story starts off very gently, but you find yourself caught up in the several conflicts that are brewing. When I saw that the author is from New York City, I wondered how she could have such insight into the intricacies of life in a small English village, but she is an Englishwoman born and bred. I found the book to be absolutely delightful! ( )
  darcy36 | Jul 8, 2014 |
British military widower meets Pakistani shopkeeper widow and romance blooms, despite their meddling relatives and small-town neighbors. That's the gist of this story, a lovely and funny tale set in an unspecified, more-or-less modern time that's a great easy summer read.

What caught my eye with this book (which I bought at a used book sale) was the cover. It's actually the cover art from the March 27, 1924 issue of Life magazine - the April Fool issue, rather fitting for both the story and artwork where what appears to be a man and woman embracing are actually coats and hats on a clothes tree. You can't make out the signature in this image, but the artwork is by J. Grenard.

This was the first novel for Helen Simonson, who was born and brought up in England, but has lived the past two decades in the USA. The novel is probably a rather nostalgic view of England, but it works in context. The author also portrays the effects of change, both on the 68-year-old Major, who is rather set in his ways, and the English village he lives in. It's also a very humorous book, especially the scenes set in the British golf club with all its snobbery and pettiness.

This book made me laugh and smile and think.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 ( )
  riofriotex | Jun 23, 2014 |
This is really very good. I listened to it, and it would have been even better if I didn't miss a couple of sections that I suspect were rather fundamental to the story. But that's the peril of borrowing CDs from the library.
Putting that aside, Major Pettigrew is one of those characters who you wonder if they are ever going to loosen up, or if they are so stiff upper lip that they can;t smile - which just make his voyage of self discovery all the more endearing. We meet the Major on the day he's heard his brother has died. And he is clearly still in shock when the lady at the village shop calls to get the weekly paper money. From that mundane meeting, the most unlikely friendship flourishes, with two people o more mature years embarking on a romantic interlude that not everyone approves of. Not everyone would approve of romance in later life, and that's before you throw in the fact that the lady in question is Mrs Ali and she's of Pakistani extraction.It is all wonderfully civilised, a meeting of minds.There are some great elements to this. The point he declares himself at her service as a knight would is just pure genius - so very very understated, but overflowing with emotion. And it's not al a happy tale, there are some really poignant moments, each of them has suffered a loss, as well as the trial and tribulations that they go through to their happy ending. At times I thought it a little far-fetched, but I had a great time listening to this. It is a really lovely book featuring an age group that probably isn't very often the focus of a book. Lovely. ( )
  Helenliz | Jun 17, 2014 |
Quite a nice little read. It's never too late for love! ( )
  Harrod | May 15, 2014 |
Entertaining, interesting read that I could not put down. ( )
  Venqat65 | May 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 320 (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)

(summary from another edition)

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