Kate Quinn's Reviews > Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
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's review
Jan 29, 2011

it was amazing

If Masterpiece Theatre doesn't make this book into a movie starring Derek Jacobi, it will be a crime. There has not been so perfectly English a read in its deadpan humor in a very long time. Meet Major Pettigrew: widower, retired army officer, and pillar of the community in his small English town. He is set in his ways: tea with acquaintances, shooting parties with friends, reticence at all times. But the Major's life starts falling into chaos when he falls in love, and with a most unsuitable candidate - Mrs. Ali, a charming Pakistani widow with a shared passion for Kipling. But while the local community might be willing to see the Major marry a proper tea-drinking Englishwoman, they are certainly not prepared to see him waltz off in the arms of a woman in a sari. The delight of this book lies in its humor, and its even-handedness. The writer pokes equal fun at the young and the old - the Major might be set in his ways, but his bumptious social-climbing young son is far worse. It's also refreshing to see the "East vs. West" stereotype turned on its head: the Pakistani families in this book are not simply portrayed as saintly picked-upon underdogs who can teach their English counterparts all about life, but as a fully rounded culture in their own right. The author observes with humor and tact that in any culture the young dismiss the old, the old roll their eyes at the young, and local traditions are sometimes beautiful and sometimes ridiculous wherever you happen to come from. All one can do in the face of it is laugh - and cheer that the Major and Mrs. Ali might waltz off to a happy ending despite the opposition of their families. And how lovely to see a passionate romance between a Romeo of sixty-eight and a Juliet of fifty-eight.
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02/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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Megan Yes! This would make for a great movie! Maybe it was because the name Pettigrew reminded me of the movie "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day," but I pictured Ciaran Hinds as the major in a film version. He does buttoned-up-military-type-with-a-passionate-side super well (see: Persuasion).

Jennifer I love your casting choice of Derek Jacobi!

Michelle Ha! Derek Jacobi would be excellent.

Ruth I thought the same thing when I finished the book. What a great modern Masterpiece Theatre piece!

Denise I was thinking James Cromwell, but Derek Jacobi is great!,

Cindee James Cromwell gets my first vote...then Derek Jacobi would be my runner up!

Kate No, no, no-Jim Carter (Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey)

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I totaly agree. I would also love to see this book as a movie.

Kristin agreed! it would be a great movie!

message 10: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee I vote for Tom Wilkinson.

message 11: by Michele (new)

Michele And who would we cast as Mrs Ali?

message 12: by Kate (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kate Diffley Love your comment about Major Pettigrew and also love Masterpiece Theatre

Janelle I would love to see this in a movie. I vote for James Cromwell or Ciaran Hinds!

message 14: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose Horton Terrific suggestion about Masterpiece! Hope someone picks it up!!

Ladory I vote for Michael Kitchen! It would make a most wonderful movie!

Ladory Jim Carter would be very good, too! I'm enthusiastic about seeing the movie. I hope someone will do it.

message 17: by Annalee (new)

Annalee Loved it. Sharp social comment too.

message 18: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Carling am loving this book :)

Alison Kilpatrick What about Peter Davison?

Wendy Evans I've been a Masterpiece Theater junkie since a kid. I really wished BBC would do a TV adaptation!

Maria Hill You are so right.

Heidi Grogan What a wonderful review!! This booked charmed the pants off of me!!

Linda M Shohreh Aghdashloo (sp?) as Mrs. Ali. She's wonderful in every roll.

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