, January 25, 2012
(view all comments by LiteraryOne)
I loved this book and my book group loved it too.
Major Pettigrew is a widower, no longer young, living in a small English town in the countryside. The Major is among the top members of the town's local Golf Club and social pecking order. The ladies of the Golf Club have made it their mission to attach him to one of their single friends. Various coy strategems ensue. Meanwhile, the Pakistani grocer in the local shop has also died and left his widow to run the shop on her own. The widow is very well educated and the Major finds he enjoys her company and they share a great deal in common. The climactic scene takes place at the Golf Club's annual gala. In addition to the gently comedic social situations, there are serious issues concerning the Major's relationship with his adult son, his memories of his own father's famous "last stand" and the widow's entrapment in her different cultural expectations.
A mostly gentle social satire, the book sometimes makes some sharp points about social class - and not only the English social classes, but the sometimes even more rigid class structures of other cultures - but also the power of family and the power of love. An intelligent and thoughtful novel, it's also a fun read with a varied group of wonderfully drawn characters.