Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last StandWhen I hear character driven novel , I usually roll my eyes I expect navel gazing and lots of exploration of self, and it comes a bit too close to self help for my tastes But Simonson gets it absolutely right in Major Pettigrew.Reading about a 68 year old, widowed, retired Major in a sleepy English village is not necessarily a draw for most readers, but there s an alchemy in the way the characters are written Every single character in this book feels real and genuine Some start off as stereotypes, but few of them remain that way and you don t have to wait for the end of the book to discover their layers Within a handful of pages, you start getting bits of personality that make the characters jump to life They re all incredibly enjoyable I m usually someone who likes adventure stories and urges the plot to go faster, but not once did I feel like Simonson was dragging her heels Each moment spent with her characters is another chance to figure out how they tick They re just wonderful Including Major Pettigrew no small thing, when the retired military toff stereotype is so strong.The only thing that knocked a star off this review for me was a slightly hackish plot device at the end, but it s such a minor thing it really only counts for half a star I could spend books and books getting to know Simonson s characters It s totally worth it, and totally delightful. I say old chap What a wonderful book Delicious, full of humor, wit, it s colorful, delicate, wise cute, a big five star, very special Highly recommended I ll be looking for work of this author. Major Ernest Pettigrew, Retired, Of Edgecombe St Mary, England, Is 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, Pettigrewmust 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 If you are looking for something to read that is delightful, charming, with many layers of depth, this is a book you will love Although it takes place in England, this novel is not specifically about the geography of the land or the people of that geography It is much universal than that.It is a story about romance, but it isn t a romance novel It is a story about family, but it isn t a family saga It is a story that deals with religion, politics, race relations and other sensitive topics, but without proselytizing Everything fits together traditions, values, rebellion, challenges and creates a story that is both timely and very real.I loved the characters in this book, even the ones who weren t lovable The plot and sub plots kept me turning pages and wishing I had time each day to devote to devouring each chapter This book and the characters in it affected me deeply and they were a reminder for me of the joys of reading.There were so many little nuggets of wit and wisdom within these pages that I had to stop writing them all down in favour of being one with the flow of the writing It is a rare and wonderful experience to feel completely included within a novel This one held me close through the enchantment of a wonderful story and excellent writing.If you have yet to read this book, I am happy to recommend it with enthusiasm and confidence I can t imagine anyone whose life would not be touched in some way by the story and the writing. I don t believe the greatest views in the world are great because they are vast or exotic, she Jamina said I think their power comes from the knowledge that they do not change You look at them and you know they have been the same for a thousand years Major Ernest Pettigrew,Royal Sussex, retired, is an old curmudgeon of the traditional order As prescribed by his military past, everything should be ordered, strictly predictable and, well, staunchly traditional, as honor and duty and his family s good name demands His soft side, his love for his deceased wife, Nancy, is totally private That s expected His village, Edgecombe St Mary, somewhere in the south of England, is like him Nothing happens and it keeps on not happening forever Change comes slowly and superficially most of the time.But then his brother Bertie dies, and just as he ends the telephone call, bringing the news, Mrs Jamina Ali of the grocery store, knocks on his door She is the first to notice his strictly controlled sorrow over the death of his last family member in his own generation Apart from sharing his love for books, she also understands his feeling of loss She is Pakistani, without family, without her deceased husband, and no children Nothing better can kick start a friendship between two lonely people who feel left out from the world out there.Of course it won t happen without kicking and screaming Daisy, the Vicar s wife, will lead the open revolt against a disruption of orderly segregation in the village Nose uppity, with a lady band of followers, she will strain against the winds of change threatening the laid back deliciously and proper British institutions Oh, she worries about everyone so much, you know, said the Vicar She has such a big heart The Major looked at him, astonished Such touching delusion must underlie many otherwise inexplicable marriages, he thought, and liked Christopher the Vicar all the better for loving his wife.To top it all off, Major Pettigrew s son, Roger, drops a bombshell with introducing his new girlfriend, an American oh dear yes to the poor man A loud mouth American developer, Ferguson, moves in for a property development kill Jamina s newphew, the scowling, frowning, strict Muslim follower, Abdul Wahid, moves into her home and shop an annual costume ball, themed in honor of the Major s deceased father who fought in India, is organized in the golf club with its own microcosmos of rules and regulations and it is evident that something s gotta give The caterers will have to be Pakistani, yes Now how do you invite a few of them without allowing them membership to the exclusive club view spoiler The Major knew, even as he witnessed the event, that he would be pressed later to relay the details of the fight that now erupted He saw a short man with large feet shove Abdul Wahid, who fell against one of the waiters He saw another waiter slap a male dancer across the face with his white arm towel, as if to challenge him to a duel He heard Daisy green call out, somewhat hoarsely, People, please remain civilized, as a riot erupted in the middle of the dance floor Things became a blur as women screamed, men shouted, and bodies hurled themselves at one another only to crash to the ground There was much ineffectual thumping of backs and indiscriminate kicking.As the music segued into an even raucous tune, the Major was astonished to see a large drunken guest whip off his turban, hand his hooka pipes to his girlfriend, and throw himself across the heaving mass of assailants as if it were all a game The Vicar waded in to grab him by the trousers but was kicked backward and fell on Alma He became entangled in her green sari in a way that made Mortimer Teale look quite jealous, and was rescued by Alex Shaw he dragged them behind the bar, which Lord Dagenham and Ferguson seemed to have commanded as if for a siege hide spoiler 4.5 5.0This is the perfect book to read before bedtime It is not an edge of your seat, can t put the book down, must turn the page to see what happens next type but the calm, touching, peaceful but poignant, close the book with a sigh kind One to turn the lights off with a smile and a thought to slumber by.Major Pettigrew is a 67 year old English widower who is trying to navigate the growing changes in the world, the dearth of discipline, the turning tide of etiquette, the lack of loyalties He has an absolutely delightful, droll dry wit, sometimes sarcastic but always dead on and hilarious as he observes and intermingles with the world at large He is truly the star of this story He becomes as dear to the reader as a beloved, yet eccentric uncle would.Mrs Ali is a kind, generous Pakistani widow who owns and runs the small convenience store down the street from Major Pettigrew As she struggles to maintain her individuality as a worthwhile woman while adhering to the pressures of her fundamentalist Muslim family, she finds a friend and soul mate in the kind, quiet man of Mr Pettigrew.Their journey through the strict confines of both societies, the prejudices of a enlightened generation as well as, their own insecurities and natures, to find happiness is written to perfection Truly a gem of a story I am utterly baffled as to why this book is popular I expected sweet and charming and got dry and dull The obsession with the pair of guns was overdone, and was what finally made me stop reading the book The book is also bogged down with architectural detail and long, pointless descriptions of landscapes and interior decor The author s stereotyping of Americans is appalling and insulting She s clearly playing to British readers with this attitude the ignorance of the bad mannered As if all 350 million of us are exactly alike Not all Americans are tacky and boorish and pushy She knows that She s lived in the U.S for 20 years Totally not cool to portray us that way. One of the frustrating books I have ever read Some good writing, but with terrible characters and dodgy plotting an infuriating combination.The author can turn a nice phrase But, the Major excepted, the characters are terrible I know so little about Mrs Ali, which is a shame she seemed like she must have been a hell of a lady.The son, Roger, is particularly weak he s a complete cartoon Ooh, a shallow young man, who condescends to and fails to understand his dad Really Let me guess Does he work in finance Why, yes Is he self absorbed, ambitious but not very bright, and tactless Check, check, check Does he favor inappropriately flashy clothes and dumb, easily mockable modern decor Of course he does I shouldn t be able to predict every single aspect of a character s behavior, but I was.There were similar problems with the plot There were several scenes where I thought, Oh, BS The author has no idea about this A lot of the gun stuff, specifically, and people s behavior at a hunt, was simply not credible It took me a while to finish this, because I kept thinking, Oh, I should read of that, but I don t wanna After a while, I d get brave and pick it up, and sure enough soon I d be chuckling or saying, Oh, that s nice to a specific line But boy, it felt long Meh. Whoever read my Olive Kitteridge rant, probably knows that I am not much into reading books about old people Major Pettigrew s Last Stand, however, proves that any book about any subject matter or any type of characters can become a great experience if written well This novel is, essentially, a love story between a 68 year old retired Major Ernest Pettigrew and a 58 year old Pakistani shop keeper Mrs Ali, brought together by their loneliness and love of literature Yes, it doesn t sound very exciting, and yet it is an absolutely charming story Set in modern England, it encompasses many facets of British life clashes and frictions between generations, social classes, religions, and cultures all portrayed from the POV of an aging, conservative and very proper man who, because of his late love, finds himself compelled to face many issues he preferred to avoid or overlook in the past English Pakistani relationships take a center stage in this novel and are written in a particularly tactful and insightful way, without sugar coating the difficult colonial past of both countries and prejudices that exist up to this day The writing style deserves special mention Not only the novel is never boring, but it is written with an Austen like elegant humor which I don t come across very often in contemporary literature I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in a cozy read set in a tiny English village populated by colorful tea drinking characters. Major Ernest Pettigrew is a decent sort, 68, retired military, widowed, and coping with the death of his younger brother, Bertie He is a respected fixture in a rural community, member of the local golf course club, romantic target for one of the local ladies, and defender of traditional values He is disappointed with his son, who has made a religion of career ambition, and considers the provincial notions of his neighbors less than cricket But everything changes when he encounters Mrs Ali, a widowed Pakistani shop keeper Despite their different backgrounds, Pettigrew and Ali find that they have much in common.Helen Simonson image from The Globe and MailAs Simonson takes us through the will they or won t they she also offers a look at contemporary rural England, with old values and new engaging in public and private With characters that have depth and heart, and a charming, endearing love story, it is easy to care, and thus to become involved, and ultimately, to enjoy Hopefully Pettigrew s last stand will not also be Ms Simonson s It wasn t Published March 2, 2010 Review posted May 2010, March 2017 EXTRA STUFFPlans are, or at least were, afoot for a television production of the novel, but at present, it listed in IMDB.COM only as in development I do not have a pro membership so cannot see their privileged data I seem to recall that Bill Nighy had been set to play the Major Not sure if that is still on.Here are links to Simonson s personal, FB and Twitter pages

Helen Simonson was born in England and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex A graduate of the London School of Economics with an MFA from Stony Brook Southampton, she is a former travel advertising executive who has lived in America for almost three decades A longtime resident of Brooklyn, she is married with two sons Her debut novel, Major Pettigrew s Last Stand, was a NY

[PDF] ✅ Major Pettigrew's Last Stand By Helen Simonson –
  • ebook
  • 343 pages
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
  • Helen Simonson
  • English
  • 12 March 2019
  • 9781588369659

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