During WWII, in a New England prep school, Gene and Phineas spend their time playing sports and starting clubs, but a life-changing accident forces them to face the reality outside their small community.
A Separate Peace is a little gem of a book. It's not every day I get to read a novel that's so masterfully constructed.
It an ideal summer that's doomed to become a lost Eden in the winter that ends the novel.
Along with his choice of seasons or his remarkable use of the historical background, John Knowles pays attention to every aspect of his story to create an unforgettable mood. Because Gene is ultimately an unreliable narrator, all the careful details are just as crucial in the telling of the story as the narrator's voice.
John Knowles perfectly captures (prep) school life and humor, but his story of two rival friends sheds light on something so unpleasant about human nature, that the novel becomes far more than another coming-of-age story.
Knowles' writing style is deceptively elegant as it simultaneously conceals and reveals a haunting violence of feelings.
This is certainly one of the best books I've read this year.