Major Pettigrew's Last Stand/Helen Simonson: A Passage

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It was this kind of downpour day, and I cherished the excuse to read deeper into Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, a truly affecting debut novel by Helen Simonson.  What does love look like when it's new and you are not?  How does a man getting on in age combat the lusty greed of the son he sired?  What is it to stand in a familiar place and watch the coming end of day?  What is it to be proper in England and also, impeccably, falling in love with the Pakistani shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali?  Simonson's writing is enviably clear, perfectly transporting, not a wedge overdone.  Let me give you, at least, this:
They were at the lower fence now, and he was aware that one of the nails he had added was bent in half and shining with evidence of his incompetence.  He hoped she would see only the view beyond, where the sheep field fell away down a small fold between two hills to a copse thick with oaks.  Mrs. Ali leaned her arms on the flimsy top rail and considered the trees, which were now blending to a soft indigo in the fading light.  The rough grass on the western hill was already dark, while on the eastern flank it was losing the gold from its tips.  The ground breathed mist and the sky showed night gathering intensity in the east.
My thanks to Lilian Nattel and Ravenous Reader, trusted readers and bloggers, who were early in singing this novel's praises.


Beth F said...

So glad you are enjoying this. I found it to be utterly charming in all the best senses of that word.

bermudaonion said...

My independent bookstore handsells this title, so I expected it to be good.

melanie said...

I loved this one too.

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