2010 Random House Audio
Narrated by Peter Altschuler
Finished on January 18, 2022
Rating: 3/5 (Good)
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?
It's been over a decade since I first read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. I listened to the audio in 2011 and decided to go that route again when my book group selected the novel for our January discussion. I enjoyed Peter Altschuler's excellent narration, but the story fell flat and I continued listening only in order to refresh my memory for the upcoming meeting. Once again, I found myself comparing Major Pettigrew with Lyle (Geoffery Palmer) from As Time Goes By. Both men are opinionated and share a dry sense of humor, which was the best part of the book.
You can find my first review of this book here.