A Separate Peace

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Paperback, 208 pages
Scribner, 2003
First Scribner Trade Paperback Edition, Thirty-eighth Printing

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to World War II.

Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Afterword by David Levithan

Editorial Reviews

"A novel that made such a deep impression on me at sixteen that I can still conjure the atmosphere in my fifties: of yearning, infatuation mingled indistinguishably with envy, and remorse." --Lionel Shriver, Author of We Need to Talk About Kevin

"Unforgettable...A deeply moving coming-of-age story, set against the backdrop of war...that explores what it means to have a true friend, and to be a true friend; how some friendships mold us, stamp us, for better or worse, on the fledgling's path to the adult world." --M.L. Stedman, Author of The Light Between Oceans

"A model of restraint, deeply felt and beautifully written." --The Observer

"A quietly vital and cleanly written novel that moves, page by page, toward a most interesting target." --Truman Capote, Author of In Cold Blood

About the Author

John Knowles, who died in 2001, was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University, as well as a recipient of the William Faulkner Award and the Rosenthal Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.