Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Helen Simonson, MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND
This novel reminded me of Jane Austen. Not only does it concern "three or four families in a country village" in England, but there is a gently satiric tone that recalls Austen. This novel, set in Edgecombe St. Mary, portrays an older gentleman (with a fairly obnoxious money-driven son, at moments as ridiculous as Mr. Collins) who falls in love with the Pakistani shopkeeper Mrs. Ali and sends shock waves through the town. Mrs. Ali is almost an Elizabeth Bennet, with a sharp-eyed wit. A friend told me the book was "too slow"; but I didn't find it so. It is not a "page-turner," but as in Austen's novels, the plot turns on small events, gestures, or a word spoken out of turn, with the utmost attention paid to delicate shades of feelings.