John Knowles – A Separate Peace Audiobooktext
A Separate Peace isbest-known work John Knowles’. Learning novel published in 1959, it is still very popular in the United States today and studied at school.
John Knowles was inspired by his time at Phillips Exeter Academy (Devon School in the novel) and some students, including Gore Vidal who will also become a writer. But this is never totally autobiographical. John Knowles – A Separate Peace Audiobook.
Gene Forrester, the main character, returned in 1958 to visit Devon School where he studied during the year 1942-1943. The whole novel is told by Gene.
The backdrop is therefore World War II. One can easily imagine that with the publication of the novel, the war is not so far in the memory of the readers. Eisenhower, a former soldier, became President of the United States (1952-1956). the boarding school for high-born students trains them to become future soldiers. Above a door, a Latin inscription “The boys come here to be made men”. The threat of going to war roars – even if one guesses that they will not be the base, because if they decide to advance the call they will be able to choose their assignment.
Gene is a sixteen-year-old bumpkin from his native Texas. He is not always very comfortable with the codes of this school on the East Coast. An introverted intellectual, he is quite dull and conformist, enjoys studying and having a predictable life. His friend and roommate Phineas is an accomplished rebellious athlete who does not put up with the rules and prefers to lead others, including creating a new league, a new game or a new ritual. Gene feels admiration, rivalry and jealousy for him at the same time.
When Phineas falls from a tree, all of his dreams of sporting glory fly away. From this day on, Gene will slowly move from the state of innocence to that of adulthood. John Knowles makes us live this journey. After the carefree summer of 1942 made up of games and the denial of all authority, it was a long winter marked by the feeling of patriotism while these young people imagined themselves until now immune in the protected space of the boarding school.
The status of cult book is also claimed as the fourth cover of a book discovered by my dear friend accidentally, dating a few years later, by a certain John Knowles that with all my height I had masterfully ignored until then. Without being really enthroned, however, I was less foreign to this sensitive and original work. A separate peace is a summer of 1942, a boarding school in New Hampshire. They all have the energy, carefreeness and impulses of their sixteen years, and a hero, Phineas, full of grace and fantasy, unruly, daredevil, irresistible. As the war unfolds for America Gene comes under the influence of Phineas.
Nothing to do with, for example, Musil and Les désarrois de l ‘pupil Toerless. We are not with A Separate Peace in Humiliation or a sort of sadomasochism that is long awaited in this type of somewhat initiatory novel. It is finely analyzed and the cult of sport and brotherhood, very American, does not necessarily lead to conformism. the memory that I will have of this novel, interesting and so little known in France, will rather revolve around the tree on the river, the site of a detonating accident for the two young people, and of the war, distant and roaring, of which the pupils of Devon School feel the beginnings, each in their own way, knowing that their adolescence is dying in the tumult of the exercises of military preparation. A film was made in the 1970s. John Knowles – A Separate Peace Audiobook.
What a novel!
I looked for it for a long time, and ended up finding a used copy. I am not sure that it is possible to have it new, I think it is no longer published in France and it is a HUGE mistake!
Because A Separate Peace ranks alongside the great American classics, between The Catcher-Heart by Salinger and The Magnificent Gatsby by FS Fitzgerald. For me, it revolves along with the Master of Deception DonnaTartt,ofa fiery season Richard Ford or even Virgin Suicides by JeffreyEugenides.In short, alongside all these troubled and disturbing novels on adolescence, on the loss of innocence and on the (sometimes interior) demons of the “adult” world (one should say, of the “real” world).
A Separate Peace is a great novel, disillusioned, cruel, mysterious. He surprised me, upset me, questioned me. It is written (and translated) with a sublime pen and describes with surprising acuity the psychology of a teenager tormented by the major questions of his age and his time (the novel being set in 1942, when the war entered the war from the USA).
A Separate Peace is a beautiful novel about the loss of adolescence at a time when an entire country is also losing its innocence in the face of war.