A small masterpiece with a vast canvas - three major wars of the twentieth century, no less - and a strong emotional charge, this is a taut, moving novel about old men, young men and war, about memory and imagination and the gap between. Old man MacIver, military historian and one-time centre for Scotland's rugby team ('quite quick in his day'), recently widowed, has holed up in his holiday home. He makes rules to 'stop the rot', as he and his house crumble away - what he must burn, when he should eat, how to write something everyday...Gradually a strange and gripping parallel tale is born, of men in the trenches of the Great War (Sergeant Braddis, king of No-Man's-Land, with his pincer-like nails; Private Callum, the quietly subversive artist; Lieutenant Simon Dodds, decent and unremarkable; and salt-of-the-earth Private Charlie Alston, caught up in a story of inhumanity and betrayal); while MacIver recalls, too, his own experiences in WWII, and tries not to think about the later war which took his son away. He tries to make sense of his marriage, his own anger and innate violence, matching these against the turbulent century through which he has lived. It's winter and he is dying; but his memories, tender, sardonic, even hopeful, glint as brightly as a gold watch in the Flanders mud. Masterly in its evocation of different times and wars, miraculous in its restraint, Rules for Old Men Waiting is an unsettling reflection of the classical unities, and a distillation of a lifetime's wisdom in an outstanding first novel.
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A brief, lyrical novel with a powerful emotional charge, "Rules for Old Men Waiting is about three wars of the twentieth century and an ever-deepening marriage. In a house on the Cape "older than the Republic," Robert MacIver, a historian who long ago played rugby for Scotland, creates a list of rules by which to live out his last days. The most important rule, to "tell a story to its end," spurs the old Scot on to invent a strange and gripping tale of men in the trenches of the First World War.
Drawn from a depth of knowledge and imagination, MacIver conjures the implacable, clear-sighted artist Private Callum; the private's nemesis Sergeant Braddis, with his pincerlike nails; Lieutenant Simon Dodds, who takes on Braddis; and Private Charlie Alston, who is ensnared in this story of inhumanity and betrayal but brings it to a close.
This invented tale of the Great War prompts MacIver's own memories of his role in World War II and of Vietnam, where his son, David served. Both the stories and the memories alike are lit by the vivid presence of Margaret, his wife. As Hearts and Minds director Peter Davis writes, "Pouncey has wrought an almost inconceivable amount of beauty from pain, loss, and war, and I think he has been able to do this because every page is imbued with the love story at the heart of his astonishing novel."
Born in China of British parents, educated at Oxford, Peter Pouncey is a classicist and academic who moved to the US in the 1960s and is now President Emeritus of Amherst College. This is his first novel.
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Descripción Chatto & Windus, 2005. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0701178116