Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand By Helen Simonson
What a lovely book! I’d recommend this to all the same folks I pushed The Gurensey Literary and Potato Pie Society on last year. Major Pettigrew is a retired British army man, and seemingly the last person in the seaside village of Edgecombe St.Mary’s with any sense of decorum. At a moment of grief, when his guard is down, he forges a friendship with the owner of the small local shop- a widow of Pakistani origin. The romance between these two was just so satisfying, in an unspoken but still highly emotional Jane Austen kind of way.
The main thread of romance late in life in cut with hilarious farcical scenes set at the golf club’s annual dinner dance, which has somehow become “A Night at the Mughal Court” in theme, raising the hackels of the local immigrant population who have been asked to help with the decorations and entertainment, but would never be admitted to the club as members. Another particularly hilarious scene takes place at the local Lord’s manor, where the student body of a local boarding school and a swarm of enviromental protesters somehow get unleashed during the annual shoot.
I really enjoyed the way Simonson could make you laugh, portray a touching love story and still manage to indict the casual racism that still exists in a lot of places. Best of all, the whole thing has a happy ending, which I for one think is nice for a change. - Carolyn