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A Separate Peace by John Knowles
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A Separate Peace (1959)

by John Knowles

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Lacks substance but the prose would have you believe it was saying something which it is not. ( )
  adrianburke | Jul 11, 2017 |
(27) Every year around this time, I re-read a book I read many years ago. 'A Separate Peace' is one I read as a tween I think, and possibly even another time in school in close proximity to my first read, maybe circa 6th or 7th grade. I loved it then and thought about it long after turning the last page and it has not lost much of its mystique. Finny and Gene - best friends and roommates at a prestigious New England boys boarding school during WW2. The need to enlist or be drafted lies heavily over all their interactions despite the seemingly halcyon days and then tragedy strikes.

It is spare with elegant prose that is unadorned and devoid of gimmicks. Really? Can good novels still exist that are this straightforward? Excellent foreshadowing. Excellent thematic integrity. Pristine structure. Must be an English teacher's perfect novel. And it is moving and engaging. There are a few politically incorrect passages which perhaps render it unusable in today's ultra-PC society.

What really went down in the tree or on the staircase and is Gene truly to blame? His line of 'you don't cry at your own funeral' is fairly haunting. This book is so innocent in so many ways. Makes me think of these boys as a mother of two sons and causes my heart to ache. It is elegiac. It is wistful. It is not heavy-handed. I will hold on to this copy and give it to my boys for another 5-10 yrs from now. ( )
  jhowell | Jun 5, 2017 |
This was required reading for me in high school and, as a result, I don't think I read any of it. I hated my 10th grade English class, and since this book was associated with that class, I hated this book.

I decided to seriously read it now, at 27, and I have to say that this book is a masterpiece. Great literature is used and abused in high school (not necessarily the fault of teachers). Time and maturity bring these brilliant works into light. ( )
  cknick | Dec 14, 2016 |



This is one of my favourite books from years ago. I've read and re-read it quite a few times. As soon as I saw that the Beach Resort where I was staying had a copy I didn't look back. It was impossible for me to put it down once I began skimming it and I still own an original copy at home. It made my day. Beach Reading it is not...
Amazing how some books stick in the mind thirty years after you read them (in a British Council Literature Class). I still remember the utter shock when Finny died! It was so sad darn it!
The book shows great examples of how dramatic it is to be an adolescent.

Finny is for the ages!" ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
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To Bea and Jim with gratitude and love
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I went back to Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A Separate Peace is a story about two young boys who are close friends and go to Devon school together. Phineas, the more athletic of the two, and Gene, the more intellectually inclined seem to balance eachother out. The story is set in New England during WWII. It is full of insight, friendship, and also a tragedy. I really enjoyed this book because I found it to be one of the more interesting yet realistic stories that I have had to read for an English class. It was also fun because in my English class we had to make videos of different scenes of the book and I just had a lot of fun with it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743253973, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:46 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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