Rules for Old Men Waiting: A Novel

Front Cover
Random House, 2005 - Fiction - 210 pages
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.”

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User Review  - nkmunn - LibraryThing

A story within a story that shows how love can define a life, how decency can happen even between men who are not equals, how anger and ego can be tempered by friendship, how loyalty can overcome ... Read full review

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User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

How can a book about an old man dying be exhilarating? How can a book that seemingly has every character Pouncey's ever thought of crammed into just over 200 pp. be quiet & lovely? How can those few ... Read full review

Contents

Rules to Stop the
3
Hatching the Plot
25
Characters
37
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

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.

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