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  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

  • Written by: Helen Simonson
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallis
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Major Ernest Pettigrew (Ret’d) is not interested in the frivolity of the modern world. Since his wife Nancy’s death, he has tried to avoid the constant bother of nosy village women; his grasping, ambitious son; and the ever-spreading suburbanisation of the English countryside, preferring to lead a quiet life upholding the values that people have lived by for generations - respectability, duty, and a properly brewed cup of tea.

But when his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs Ali, the widowed village shopkeeper of Pakistani descent, the Major is drawn out of his regimented world and forced to confront the realities of life in the 21st century.

©2010 Helen Simonson (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Typical clash of cultures and classes

Found the start a little slow, but the character development was quite good. The expressive writing was the best part. From the description of people, things made me appreciate the author's deep vocabulary.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cynthea Wellings
  • 2011-05-08

Excellent little book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It tells a wonderful and clever yarn about parochial Britain. It weaves intergenerational and racial considerations intricately into the text. I found it very engaging and entertaining. The reader is excellent and easy to listen to. He changes his voice to represent each different character which heightens the listening experience. Well done.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anne
  • 2011-08-01

An absolute delight

As an expatriate Brit, living in Africa, I LOVED this book for the beautiful descriptions of English village life, the countryside, and the quirky eccentricities of the older generation of English society. A gentle story of love in life’s “Autumn years”, interwoven with the harsher elements of family greed, racial prejudice & snobbery – but with deft touches of humour to lighten the gloom of humanity behaving badly. Beautifully written & a perfect choice of reader – I immediately looked on Audible.com for books featuring the author (none) & narrator (lots – hurray!). Heartily recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Stephanie Whitelock
  • 2012-01-31

Excellent

What did you love best about Major Pettigrew's Last Stand?

This would be one of my favourite audbiobooks so far. The narration is outstanding - BIll Wallis is pitch perfect as all the characters, especially Pettigrew - and the story is warm and engaging. I found myself thinking about the characters and what they would do next when I wasn't listening to the book. I can't recommend this audiobook highly enough.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ilana
  • 2012-04-17

Deserves a Stand Up Ovation!

Major Ernest Pettigrew, a sixty-eight year old widower who hasn't yet gotten over the death of his wife six year hence, has just lost his younger brother quite suddenly and is understandably very upset about the news. When he sets out to leave his house and drive over to his sister-in-law's, he is taken by a temporary malaise just as the local shopkeeper, Mrs Ali stops by for a visit. The kind middle-aged lady helps the Major recover, even offering to drive him to his brother's funeral when he doesn't feel able to do so himself. And so a beautiful friendship is born. An unlikely friendship, with differing class and ethnic backgrounds (she's Pakistani), combined with life in a small English village, making such a pairing fodder for plenty of gossip and disapproval among the Major's friends and neighbours; his insufferable financier son is opposed to their union because it doesn't fit into his notions of career or socially enhancing manoeuvres; Mrs Ali's nephew, who helps her in the shop is also dead-set against the pairing, having recently returned from studies in Pakistan and renewed his Muslim faith with extreme vigour. Meanwhile, the Major's number one fixation is reuniting a pair of antique hunting rifles inherited from his father, a concern which seems to be a chief preoccupation for the whole family.

This story sounded like it had all the makings of an unbearably cute lovey-dovey story that should have gottten royally on my nerves. But I was quite thrown off my curmudgeonly stance by characters that seemed genuine and rather likeable, or wonderfully despicable, facing real-life situations and difficulties of the sort we can all relate to, (SPOILER ALERT:) all the while knowing love must prevail. I was prepared to take in the inevitable happy ending with a healthy dose of grumpy condescension, but there were plenty of unforeseen complications along the way that made getting there quite a fun trip. (END OF SPOILER)

To top it all off, I just adored listening to this story read by Bill Wallis, who's voice is perfect for the Major and who does a fine job of interpreting each character. He made a charming story that much more enjoyable. A very enthusiastic HURRAY for the Major!!!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marjan
  • 2011-07-27

A fun light listen

This is a fun book to listen to, quite light weight, but well written and very well narrated. I enjoyed it very much.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jobee
  • 2020-01-27

Love and ageing in a multicultural society

Despite the title this is not a war memoir or a hymn to Empire but a sweet tale of the complexities of love while ageing, reflecting on the complexities of generational and multicultural difference. It’s beautifully told and wonderfully read; Bill Wallis is an excellent choice for the inner and outer voice of Major Pettigrew. A note of hope is struck and the story doesn’t shy away from some of the ugliness of racism.

I’ve re-listened three times now because I enjoy Major Pettigrew’s company so much.

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  • Dorise
  • 2019-02-26

Exceptionally well written, rich characters, engaging plot, full bodied story

Looked for more from the author and disappointed there is now much available. This most excellent author drew me in and left me wishing i could spend more time in her creative eloquent company and that of her main characters. Left me cheering them on until the end

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  • IRINA VORONEZHSKAYA
  • 2017-11-22

Not an easy reading

People constantly dying, lying, insulting each other and humiliating. One does hope for a happy end, considering raving reviews, but it's still disturbing - not what you want for morning run in park in dark and cold season

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2013-10-07

A Briton's eye view of Britain now.

A British Major, all the stereotypes well set, keeps his honour by keeping his old, well-formed ethics in action. A warm and wise and witty read that kept me listening when I should have been working, and listening again to take it all in, again. Delicious.

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  • Jenny
  • 2013-02-04

All's Well That Ends Well

If you could sum up Major Pettigrew's Last Stand in three words, what would they be?

Compassionate, creative and challenging

What was one of the most memorable moments of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand?

I have to say that the beginning of the story, where Major Pettigrew and Mrs Ali meet is quite wonderful. He, dressed in his wife's clematis covered housecoat - she collecting the paper money - and both as embarrassed as anything because they are so out of context.

Yet at the same time there is an immediate sympathy between them in their mutual loss of spouse, magnified so much more for Major Pettigrew by the sudden loss of his brother.

What about Bill Wallis’s performance did you like?

I think he managed to combine the best narration with a good speed of reading so that the story moved at an acceptable pace.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

From Lahore and Cambridge they came.....

Any additional comments?

This is a charming story that turns class and age assumptions upside down. The main characters are well drawn and the basic story moves well and covers some unexpected ground.

Some of the minor characters are a little less believable and seem to be portraying a character trait rather than being a whole person.

Overall, this is a good read/listen and would make a gorgeous film, should anyone take the option ever.