Rules for Old Men Waiting by Peter Pouncey
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.”


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Peter Pouncey

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Peter Pouncey was born in Tsingtao, China, of English parents. At the end of World War II, after several dislocations and separations, the family reassembled in England, and Pouncey was educated there in boarding schools and at Oxford. A classicist, former dean of Columbia College, and president emeritus of Amherst College, Peter Pouncey lives in New York City and northern Connecticut with his wife. This is his first novel.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Random House. 239 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Rules for Old Men Waiting

Kirkus Reviews

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A strong debut about a dying historian--from the 67-year-old former president of Amherst College.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Rules for Old Men Waiting: A ...

Publishers Weekly

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Begun in 1981, this slender, unpretentious, lyrical and deeply moving novel by the president emeritus of Amherst College was more than two decades in the making. The year is 1987, and octogenarian

Mar 21 2005 | Read Full Review of Rules for Old Men Waiting: A ...

USA Today

The story behind a novel can be better than the novel itself.

| Read Full Review of Rules for Old Men Waiting: A ...

Reader Rating for Rules for Old Men Waiting
86%

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