This is a book I’ve looked at for months and finally do own it. (Haven’t read it yet, but it’s next on the list) The cover was the first thing that caught my eye. To be honest, I cannot pinpoint what exactly it is about the cover that appeals to me. On the one hand, it looks very crowded and yet, there’s something intriguing about having two cups standing out in the crowd. Almost like it implies that in the crowd of similar people, two stand out most for some reason. And possibly, the story is about these two people. Any way, maybe I’m reading too much into it!
A synopsis of the book according to Goodreads:
Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags, to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance.
Mutual grief allies him with Mrs. Ali, a widowed local shopkeeper of Pakistani descent who has also resigned herself to dignified, if solitary, last years. The carefully suppressed passion between these two spawns twitters of disapproval in their provincial village, but Pettigrew hasn’t time for such silliness: real estate developers are plotting to carpet the fields outside his back door with mansionettes and his sister-in-law plans to auction off a prized family firearm. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ali’s late husband’s Muslim family expects her to hand over her hard-won business to her sullen, fundamentalist nephew, a notion she finds repellant and chauvinistic.
It’s a testament to Simonson that in this delightful novel, Pettigrew must navigate the tragic, the absurd, and the transcendentally joyful aspects of a familiar life turned upside down by an unfamiliar and unexpected late-life love affair. That two people from opposing and mutually distrusting worlds are able to bridge every gap with unerring respect and decorum serves as a quiet suggestion that larger conflicts might be avoided or resolved in much the same way. Finally, a way forward that Major Pettigrew would approve.
So does it appeal to you? The story and/or the cover?
I’ll put up a review as soon as I finish the book.
Until next time,