کتاب آسوده از جنگ

اثر جان نولز از انتشارات راه معاصر - مترجم: امیر رئیس اوژن-دهه 1950 میلادی

یک کلاسیک آمریکایی و پرفروش بزرگ برای بیش از سی سال، یک صلح جداگانه در توصیف نوجوانی در دوره ای است که کل کشور بی گناه را به جنگ جهانی دوم از دست داد. در سالهای ابتدایی جنگ جهانی دوم در مدرسه شبانه روزی در نیویورک قرار دارد و "صلح جداگانه" یک عادت غم انگیز و درخشان از قسمت تاریک نوجوانی است. ژن یک فکری تنها و درونی است. فینیاس یک ورزشکار خوش تیپ، ترسناک و جنجالی است. چه اتفاقی بین دو دوست یک تابستان اتفاق می افتد، مانند جنگ، و بی گناهی این پسران و جهانشان را از بین می برد.


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Right time, right place, right book: triple axis of alignment, all shook up. I don’t say ‘masterpiece’ often, but this is what ’a separate peace is’: no if, buts and doubts. An understated study of the death of the soul.

On a personal level, it resonates with me because I too, did something incredibly ill conceived a couple of years ago, and just like Gene Forrester, it hangs over my head like the sword of Damocles: a silent, corrosive necrotisis of the soul. There is only one way to score peace on this earth: when Gene says ‘my war ended before I ever put on a uniform’, what he means is his life ended. Not his existence: he goes on to eat, sleep, shit and fuck, but not really to live. Its a defence mechanism really: to eradicate the pain, you have to stop caring. If there is nothing to care about, pain becomes obsolete. But. So does love, joy de vivre and happiness. Gene Forrester and I, shared eharmony.

Beautifully written, suspenseful, psychologically tortuous study of whats real and what is mirage, friendship and enmity, good and evil, pinned on a hauntingly escalating plot structure of thriller cum horror.

Gene Wilder. My doppelganger. :Who is he? Who are his people? He appears at a New England School from the Midwest(?) and already he is a step apart: an outsider. Not as athletic, o witty as his friend Finny, Gene looks for his niche: a place to assert himself. But what if you’ve got nothing? Well. You always have easy access to this Hydra, if you want to tap that water: ambition. Gene is going be academic. Rote leaning ensues: there is no joy in learning, there is no accumulation of knowledge wealth: only a stockpile of grades, earned with blood and sweat, and maybe resentment. This stockpile, this tower of achievement, the house that the ‘wiseman’ built on sand: it sometimes has the tendency to lean, like the tower of Pisa. And then, everybody knows . That you worship false gods. And when Finny finds out that Gene simply isn’t a natural (at all this studying), all hell breaks loose. There is probably only one main difference between Gene and myself. When I lash out, its usually to harm myself than someone else. But, in the end, thats a moot point, because, as Gene’s little story shows so tersely, hurting someone else is just the same as hurting yourself. Perhaps worse. You can forgive yourself for inflicting all kinds of self harm, but you can never absolve yourself for fucking some one else over. And, if that someone happens to forgive you , and you can’t forgive yourself, then its game over. Life without living.

Now, Gene and I have to go lick our wounds. Its almost night time: we both know the night ‘suspends but never resolves anything’. But its the only other way to score a temporary reprieve.



مشاهده لینک اصلی
One of the few assigned books in high school that I actually liked. It helped that I was in a school much like the one mentioned. Finny supplied us with several tricks that were perfect for bored, boarding school students, which added to the interest, of course. What drew me most to this book was that it captured the experience so well.

Ive heard the novel disparaged because its about a bunch of whiny rich kids. Obviously theres a lot of truth there, but these people miss the point. While privileged, the kids dont realize it. Its as natural to them as water to a fish, so it has to be ignored to see the real story which is the fragile identity of the kids & their struggles with it.

Were told the story from Genes POV as an adult, although he obviously still harbors a lot of insecurities & isnt as accurate as he thinks in his reporting. Hes still trying to decide where he stands. During the book, hes best friends with Finny who is as carefree as anyone can be, but hes torn between his friend & the conservative respectability that the school embodies, the expectations of his world. Theyre pretty much summed up in another school mate, Brinkman.

Added to Genes confusion is his jealousy of Finny, who is a natural athlete. Gene cant measure up to his friend. He doesnt like himself for feeling this way, but the fact remains.

Not my normal reading, but Ive re-read this a couple of times over the years, getting something a bit different out of it each time. The war time setting dates it a bit, but not too badly.



مشاهده لینک اصلی
** spoiler alert ** Ugh. I had heard my friends from high school talk about how much they hated this book when they had to read it and thought perhaps hadnt been able to appreciate it as required reading. Turns out, its just an awful book. Sympathy for the characters = 0. I kept turning pages against my will because a) I thought that there had to be SOMETHING redeeming about it (theres not) and b) because I was teaching it to 8th graders.

Besides the shoddy writing and boring plot/characters, the part that killed me was how Finny supposedly dies (some bone marrow from his broken leg gets into his blood stream then to his heart). This cant even HAPPEN. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
** spoiler alert ** First read in 1986. Re-read 21-28 Jan. 2012.
4 ½ stars--I cant quite bring myself to award it 5, perhaps out of a sense of sentimental injustice. …Or because Phineas doesnt have a last name. That bugged me, so I Googled it and turned up discussions of how Phineas is a symbol. Symbol or not, when everybody else has last names, he shouldve had one, too.
Id convinced myself that Id read this book more than once, but I realised quickly when I picked it up again that I hadnt. It made such a strong emotional impression on me that I never forgot reading it…but I forgot most of the actual content. All I really remembered was likeable, seventeen-year-old Phineas tragic death, coming when the worst seemed over, after his friend caused him to fall out of a tree. I didnt even recall the narrators/Phineas friends name! I dont remember any classroom discussion of the book, just an assignment of writing a letter from Phineas to his friend.
For such a short book, it packs a hell of a punch and kept my brain spinning after Id put the book down. Its personal, yet universal. The way John Knowles shows the personal warfare of friendship and rivalry in the context of a world at war is brilliant. Is it human nature to create conflict, to make trouble where there is none? The author seems to think so. I didnt get the full message when I was a teenager, thats for sure.
On the personal level, Phineas and Genes friendship made me think of a friend I used to have, someone who was more impulsive and charismatic than I, someone I was at times jealous of. So I understand Genes feelings in general, if not the depth of them. What he does to Phineas in a moment of blind, paranoid, jealous rage is shocking. At that moment, hes too immature to see he could have refused any of Phineas invitations and schemes and Phineas wouldnt have cared. Phineas could be a smartass, but he wasnt mean-spirited. Whatever chaos he caused was temporary and just in boyish fun. He considered Gene a true friend, incapable of doing something so cruel as making him fall out of the tree and shatter his leg. The betrayal is heartbreaking.
Their timid friend Lepers loss of sanity is obvious, but the portrayal of both Phineas and Genes attempts to cope with situations at times had me doubting their sanity. I wanted to like Gene, or to pity him, but it was impossible to do so continually. His hostility toward Phineas and his focus on keeping his secret verged on sociopathic. His violent outburst against Leper, who knows Genes secret, is almost as bad as what he did to Phineas.
Ultimately, though, Gene does feel guilt for what hes done, and its clear he knows he behaved badly and will carry the scar for the rest of his life. Their classmate Brinkers desire to get at the truth, to make Phineas remember and/or Gene confess, turns out to be prelude to the final tragedy--Phineas second fall and the surgery that kills him. …But, like Brionys @[email protected] in Ian McEwans book, apologies or good intentions will never be enough. A moments action led to a permanent loss that can never be fixed or changed.
The book also made me revisit my feelings about warfare and peoples attitudes toward it. Its an amazing depiction of ambivalence about war. The author presents Leper, who buys into the propaganda and enlists, only to lose his mind; Brinker, who doesnt really believe in war but whose father constantly pushes him to join up for the sake of having good war stories to tell; Gene, whos saved from the self-punishment of early enlistment by Phineas return to school, only to later join the Navy in hope of staying out of combat while still feeling guilty about it; and Phineas, whose pretense of not believing in the war was only a cover for his thwarted hopes of joining up. While I respect people who risk their lives to protect others or uphold an ideal, I have a problem with the glorification of war. The black-and-white, us-versus-them idea of war is such a lie, when armies are made up of individuals. I love the part of the book in which Gene tells Phineas he wasnt cut out for warfare because hed probably end up crossing enemy lines to organise an impromptu game with the Germans or the Japanese.
For the most part, the writing displays a nice economy in language. The author gets to the point without going overboard but manages to employ some lyrical, original turns of phrase. There were a few times I stumbled over some wording, sometimes for what I deemed lack of a comma or two. But the author realistically captures the lives people try to carve out for themselves when the @real world out [email protected] its war or college or work--seems remote and almost imaginary or, at its worst, like a nightmare.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
3.5

“There was no harm in taking aim, even if the target was a dream.”

Gene, you suck. It didn’t take long at all for me to despise you.

I had no idea what to expect going into ‘A Separate Peace’. I’d never heard of it before an enthusiastic friends-of-the-library volunteer recommended it to me when I was shopping at the yearly book sale. Since then I’ve learned it’s actually a classic that’s slipped under my reader’s radar. The length isn’t intimidating and the book reads quickly, accompanied by a slightly distant yet talented writing style that could just as easily been used pen a book of poetry with its technique.

The first chapter/story was difficult to get into - story didnt start off with much of a bang, more of a literary whimper. The author’s style didnt suit me much but now its grown on me as the story has grown. This coming-of-age tale is set during WWII at a sheltered boy’s school. There the boys face themselves, each other, and their future. Before even entering the war, they are corrupted by it - psychologically, physically, spiritually.

It paints a glorified picture of WWII, where, if you can’t serve, it’s considered a disasterous, dishonorable, lifelong failure. The school is set in an isolated way, filled with talk of joining the war and enlisting when they come of age, and until then sheltered from parents and outside peers, joining in the world’s efforts from news bulletins, the radio, and encouraging professors. This classic takes the world war and instead focuses on the true war – that within ourselves, a silent war no others see but that an individual must face.

Gene is a king in the school, a brain who’s best friends with the brawn, the top athlete who excels so naturally at things he doesn’t always want credit for them. They have a unique friendship that Gene starts questioning, as the inevitable testosterone-filled challenging nature of males intertwines with the bonding of friends.

There is a disaster – a sad one - that happens. I could even forgive this, maybe, if Gene didn’t later turn from the tales of another tortured friend. I found little sympathy in the character, but there was thankfully ample growth. At the end, it’s so haunting, so consuming, that it’s poetic justice.

Overall this story didn’t get into my psyche immediately, but once it did, the painful rollercoaster kept speeding up. Slow writing didn’t make a difference since I couldn’t turn away from the crash I knew was coming. Such a bleak and brutal novel, I can see why it’s termed a classic. Little is uplifting; of course it’s never a rule a book must be, but the bleakness is painful to read, which is suitable for a novel set during the false glories of wars.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
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