Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

A Novel

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.


The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then 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 village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781400068937
1400068932
Characteristics: 358 p. ; 25 cm.

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g
glotet
Aug 08, 2017

A story with depth and a powerful ending.
Hopeful that Ms. Simonson is working on a third novel.

q
QueenSheba_0
Apr 13, 2017

File this one under "charm" and "delight." This novel tells the story of a British widower in his retirement years, wondering how he will fill the rest of his life. He connects with a village shopkeeper who is a Muslim and a widow. The two are both avid readers and have much in common but it's not clear if they will be able to overcome the cultural obstacles that conspire to keep them apart. Read this one slowly to enjoy the subtle language, sly humor, and pictures of life in a British village. And be patient with the fact that the action starts out slow. Your patience will be rewarded!

s
sgcf
Mar 30, 2017

This English comedy of manners swept me away with its romantic and comedic flair. The author develops a wry sense of the outlandish in her well-developed stock characters and their self-absorbed world, but it’s done with charm and pokerfaced humour that had me guffawing out loud. That’s not to negate the issues that the story also tackles – traditionalist values vs modernization, racism, gossip/slander – Simonson’s writing has huge heart. A wonderful blend of entertainment and intelligent contemplation.

e
Estha
Oct 27, 2016

I found Simonson's latest book on a "books to read" list and started with this one. It's a story of 2 older people finding love in the midst of family and community disapproval. The plot twists keep it interesting and the Major's wit made it a fun read.

c
carol507
May 06, 2016

Too many characters - hard to keep everyone straight - couldn't get thru' the book

s
SoftFire
Apr 18, 2016

Save for the abrupt departure from the rest of the story toward the end, the book was simply brilliant. Very English. And there was a lot to think about in the subtle prejudices people incorporate in their daily lives without thinking themselves in the least bit prejudice.

c
ctkvlk
Feb 26, 2016

Oh my, this book had me from the first page. So charming and refreshingly free of bad language and tons of gratuitous sex. Just delightful. I highly recommend it!

u
ulana2001
Jun 25, 2015

Great insight into the social changes happening in the UK plus a great story!

w
Wong_Anne
Jun 09, 2015

[IMPAC Dublin FINALIST] A lovely read about Mjr Pettigrew, a recently widowed man in small town England. When sympathy is extended from an unlikely source, Mjr Pettigrew slowly gains a new friend; much to the consternation of the community in which he lives as well as his friend’s Asian family. Class conflict – yes. Social bias – yes. Prejudice from both sides – yes. Tradition vs modernity - also yes. A novel that deals with pre-conceived notions and society. (This book had so much to say).

t
tls505
May 20, 2015

Yuck. Where do I start? At the one dimensional characterizations, the obnoxiously sarcastic writing style, the ridiculous romance that defies belief or the lovely genteel story that turns into a bloodbath at the end? Is this a romantic idyll or a horror novel? A nice idea that's been horribly executed.

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bbock291
Aug 06, 2016

bbock291 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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louise_claire
Jan 30, 2011

Romance of a very English retired Major and a Pakistani shopkeeper in a small English village. Likeable characters, although some rather caricatured. Gentle humour. The plot is a bit thin with some unlikely events and the pace rather slow in the middle section.

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b
bbock291
Aug 06, 2016

(Pettigrew is talking with Mrs. Ali about a proposed housing development for the rich.)

"...Makes me feel old and foolish." He said. "I assumed progress couldn't touch our little corner of the world."

"It's not about progress. It's about greed."

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