A comfortable read
So much happens in this book, yet nothing happens.
That is such an odd statement that I’d better explain.
The characters, and their interactions, and the landscape in which they operate, are very well developed as the story progresses. The principal character, Ernest Pettigrew, lives in a village in the south of England. He is universally known as “Major.” The events in his life, and in those of the people who surround him, take on enormous significance: for him. Those events would not even figure in the local newspapers and would probably mean nothing to anyone at all a few years later.
What the story shows is that something which may dominate our thoughts, our lives, may mean absolutely nothing in the greater scheme of things.
For the Major, the two most important things in his life are a gun which, for many years, has been in the possession of his dear, recently departed brother, and the owner of the village shop, Mrs Ali.
For about three-quarters of the book, nothing really happens, but one feels compelled to keep reading. Then the action commences and runs right up until the final pages. At the end, I was left wondering what it was all about.
This is what I would call a comfortable read. For some, I can imagine that it would provide a nostalgic look at Little England. However, for me, as somebody who lives in South East England, there were flaws which did not ring true. For example, the Major drives home past the “twin airports of London.” There are no twin airports of London. There are hardly any similarities between any of the airports around London, any more than you could compare, say, JFK and New Dehli airports.
Still, it is a pleasant read, and this is a book which I would recommend to friends who long for the nostalgia of “the Old Country.”