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A Separate Peace

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A Separate Peace Cover

ISBN13: 9780743253970
ISBN10: 0743253973
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It would be inconceivable for an American author to write a coming-of-age novel in a comedic vein without reckoning with J.D. Salinger's A Catcher in the Rye; and it would be equally impossible to explore the genre in a tragic vein without taking account of John Knowles's A Separate Peace. In a way comparable perhaps only to The Lord of the Flies in England, A Separate Peace looms over the American literary imagination as both beacon and sentinel, enticing as many emulators by its extraordinary success as it discourages by the sheer magnificence of John Knowles's accomplishment. Season after season, coming-of-age novels are still published, as they will always be, but succeeding generations discover for themselves why A Separate Peace brooks no competitors. Set among a group of boys at a New England boarding school during World War II, it shines a light into the highest heights of beauty and the most profound depths of evil that young men are capable of reaching. At once harrowing and luminous, brooding and bittersweet, A Separate Peace has captured as if in amber the experience of adolescence for millions of readers over four decades. It is John Knowles's crowning achievement, and an undisputed American classic.

Review:

"I think it is the best-written, best-designed and most moving novel I have read in many years. Beginning with a tiny incident among ordinary boys, it ends by being as deep and as big as evil itself." Aubrey Menen

Review:

"John Knowles' engrossing tale of love, hate, war, and peace....Intense, mesmerizing, and compelling..." School Library Journal

Review:

"A quietly vital and cleanly written novel that moves, page by page, towards a most interesting target." Truman Capote

Review:

"Is he the successor to Salinger for whom we have been waiting so long? Encounter

Review:

"A masterpiece." National Review

Synopsis:

Gene was a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas was a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happened between them at school one summer during the early years of World War II is the subject of A Separate Peace. A bestseller for over twenty years, it is a starkly moving parable of the dark forces that brood over the tortured world of adolescence.

Synopsis:

An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war.

Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles’s crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.

About the Author

John Knowles, who died in 2001, was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University, as well as a recipient of the William Faulkner Award and the Rosenthal Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

pea, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by pea)
I beautifully written and accurate portrayal of childhood, adulthood and what it means to know the world. I would recommend this book as a gift to readers of any age, as its language is simple and lovely, while its themes are timeless.
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mling, May 3, 2010 (view all comments by mling)
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, evolves as a tragic story that can occur unpredictably in a boy’s life. Gene and Phineas are best friends who stick by each other no matter what. However, as World War I continues on, the war becomes a part of their lives, turning them against each other and then uniting them once again. The book serves as a reminder that one tends to hurt those closest to him, like Gene does to Phineas. For this reason, I will not forget about A Separate Peace.

In the novel, Gene Forrester reminisces on the summer of 1942 to the end of the school year in 1943. He attends the Devon school, a New England boarding school, during World War I. He becomes best friends with a popular athlete named Phineas, who leads him on thrilling adventures and makes him take risks he would not have otherwise. One evening, embarking on an adventure, Phineas breaks leg. Gene feels guilty about Phineas’s injury, taking it upon himself to fulfill Phineas’s desires. As the war continues on, Leper Lepellier, a classmate of Gene, enlists into the military, but he escapes. He reveals his knowledge about what really happened when Phineas broke his leg to Gene. After the encounter with Leper, Gene returns to Devon, and continues to be questioned by Brinker Hadley, another classmate, about the truth of what really happened on the night of the incident. Phineas, annoyed by the persistent Brinker, storms out of the room and falls down the stairs. From that moment on, life changes for Gene and the tragedy is one he can never forget.

John Knowles’s A Separate Peace emphasizes the themes of identity and loss of innocence. Throughout the book, Gene has trouble with his identity and he confuses himself about the relationship he has with Phineas. Gene admits he “was not of the same quality as he” (59) and feels a tinge of jealousy towards Finny, yet is proud of their friendship. A Separate Peace also comments on the reality that growing up leads to a loss of innocence. What started as a harmless summer attending boarding school, the coming of age among teenagers turns out to be a war itself. Gene narrates, “Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school” (204). Before even experiencing war, Gene knew what war was like and the knowledge displays the maturity Gene attains during school. Passing through the phase of adolescence, Gene struggles with his identity, faces losing a friend and realizes that war is violent and life changing.

After reading John Knowles’s novel, I would definitely recommend A Separate Peace. The novel achieves its goal of emphasizing the tragedy that war impacts upon lives. Within the walls of Devon school are the false interpretations of friends turned into enemies and the loss of innocence among the youth. The shifts within the novel held my attention. For example, after Phineas falls, Gene decreases his social life and becomes more independent. While reading, the first person point of view let me experience the book through the perspective of Gene. He feels that he is guilty for Phineas’s injuries, but then again, he does not know if he really did cause Phineas to fall, which is a mystery that enthralls me.

The Devon school takes a shift from peacefulness to the presence of war after Phineas falls from the tree. A Separate Peace is a compelling work through the concept that war can cause a person to harm those closest to him as he tries to distinguish his own identity. The heartbreaking ending of the novel is one that I will never be able to forget.
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(11 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
crowyhead, August 29, 2008 (view all comments by crowyhead)
One of the community challenges on the LiveJournal 50 Book Challenge community last month was to read a book that one was assigned in highschool and disliked, and discover whether it was still as unlikeable.

A Separate Peace was one of those books I clearly remembered actually throwing across the room when I finished it, but there were also images and incidents from the novel that had stuck with me ever since. It seemed like a good candidate for re-reading.

I'm glad I did. There really are wonderful images and incidents here, and up until the last twenty pages or so I couldn't recall quite what had ticked me off so much when I read it years ago. Then I got to the end. I'd forgotten that Knowles basically decided that the metaphors and themes were not obvious enough already, so he pounds on them all for the last chapters of the book, removing most of the subtlety and nuance. I didn't detest the book as much this time around, but I did remember why it had gone across the room -- I felt at the time that it insulted my intelligence and that the author took an easy out at the end, and I still feel the same way, to a certain extent
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743253970
Author:
Knowles, John
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Death
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Exeter, Philips Exeter Academy, Gore Vidal, American classic, Peter Yates, New England, World War II, Gene, Phineas, Finny, Leper, Lepellier, West Point, Brinker, PTSD, Devon School, Playing Fields, Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters,
Subject:
Exeter, Philips Exeter Academy, Gore Vidal, American classic, Peter Yates, New England, World War II, Gene, Phineas, Finny, Leper, Lepellier, West Point, Brinker, PTSD, Devon School, Playing Fields, Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters,
Subject:
Exeter, Philips Exeter Academy, Gore Vidal, American classic, Peter Yates, New England, World War II, Gene, Phineas, Finny, Leper, Lepellier, West Point, Brinker, PTSD, Devon School, Playing Fields, Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters,
Subject:
Exeter, Philips Exeter Academy, Gore Vidal, American classic, Peter Yates, New England, World War II, Gene, Phineas, Finny, Leper, Lepellier, West Point, Brinker, PTSD, Devon School, Playing Fields, Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters,
Subject:
Exeter, Philips Exeter Academy, Gore Vidal, American classic, Peter Yates, New England, World War II, Gene, Phineas, Finny, Leper, Lepellier, West Point, Brinker, PTSD, Devon School, Playing Fields, Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters,
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Publication Date:
October 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 6.825 oz

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A Separate Peace Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780743253970 Reviews:
"Review" by , "I think it is the best-written, best-designed and most moving novel I have read in many years. Beginning with a tiny incident among ordinary boys, it ends by being as deep and as big as evil itself."
"Review" by , "John Knowles' engrossing tale of love, hate, war, and peace....Intense, mesmerizing, and compelling..."
"Review" by , "A quietly vital and cleanly written novel that moves, page by page, towards a most interesting target."
"Review" by , "Is he the successor to Salinger for whom we have been waiting so long?
"Review" by , "A masterpiece."
"Synopsis" by , Gene was a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas was a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happened between them at school one summer during the early years of World War II is the subject of A Separate Peace. A bestseller for over twenty years, it is a starkly moving parable of the dark forces that brood over the tortured world of adolescence.
"Synopsis" by , An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war.

Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles’s crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.

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