Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson


Audiobook.  This story of an elderly British major who cultivates his reputation as a curmudgeon is of course about the exposure of the Major as the most modern and kindly of men.  He, almost alone in the village, appreciates the Pakistanis, born and grown up in Britain, as neighbors and friends.  While not inclined to tell near strangers or even good friends the intimacies of his own life, he is a good listener as needed.  And for a man who believes in minding his own business, he becomes deeply involved in the troubles of others. 

The tone is very appealing — it almost always has that slightly distant and vaguely amused take on the world.  The following description of the changes in the village shop is indicative:

The large caddy of loose tea behind the counter had been replaced by a display of chocolate assortment boxes of a size guaranteed to cause acute happiness followed by acute gastric distress in small children.

Only occasionally does the author go too far with the ridiculous character that makes you cringe.  This was a real treat of a book that made me laugh numerous times.


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