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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
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Cara | 45 comments Mod
From Goodreads:
"Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance.
Mutual grief allies him with Mrs. Ali, a widowed local shopkeeper of Pakistani descent who has also resigned herself to dignified, if solitary, last years. The carefully suppressed passion between these two spawns twitters of disapproval in their provincial village, but Pettigrew hasn't time for such silliness: real estate developers are plotting to carpet the fields outside his back door with mansionettes and his sister-in-law plans to auction off a prized family firearm. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ali's late husband's Muslim family expects her to hand over her hard-won business to her sullen, fundamentalist nephew, a notion she finds repellant and chauvinistic.

It's a testament to Simonson that in this delightful novel, Pettigrew must navigate the tragic, the absurd, and the transcendentally joyful aspects of a familiar life turned upside down by an unfamiliar and unexpected late-life love affair. That two people from opposing and mutually distrusting worlds are able to bridge every gap with unerring respect and decorum serves as a quiet suggestion that larger conflicts might be avoided or resolved in much the same way. Finally, a way forward that Major Pettigrew would approve."

Cara | 45 comments Mod
I enjoyed this book. The description of small English life was intriguing. It was a little slow to start, but once I got into the characters, I was intrigued to see how it all ended. Forbidden love, young and old, is never a dull story.

Leigh | 1 comments I enjoyed this book as well...more than I thought I was going to when I started reading it. I was quite surprised by the turn of events at the end. I won't spoil it for anyone but I really didn't expect such drama when the rest of the story just ambled along. It's also interesting to see how the Brits portray we Americans. I liked Sandy but have to say that I cringed every time she called the Major Ernest.

message 4: by Cara (last edited Feb 25, 2012 07:55AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cara | 45 comments Mod
Glad you liked it - and it really picked up in the end, didn't it? I too was embarrassed by Sandy. She obviously had no clue but I felt it was up to Pettigrew's son to educate her a bit.

Danny (danbrarian) | 74 comments Mod
I've had several people tell me that it took a long time to get into this book, and I agree. I started to get interested when I realized that Major Pettigrew was a fleshed out version of one of Agatha Christie's mainstay characters: The fusty old British army man. While Christie uses the type frequently, she never really goes into the character's history or psychology, which Simonson does more thoroughly in this book.

What begins as an exploration of manners and polite society in the aftermath of a tragedy turns into something quite different by the end of the book. The tension lying underneath the surface of this quiet English village begins to build and comes to a head several times. Add to that the culture clashes and the family squabbles and you've got a pretty good read. Just don't expect it to go anywhere fast. It progresses at a stately pace.

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