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Though smoothly written, it is a challenge to have your own griefs revealed through the death of MacIver's wife,
deaths of animals,
war stories, and the dying of the writer.
 
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m.belljackson | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Apr 19, 2023 |
Liked it. A story about an old man dying, sad but not quite as sad as one might think. He's writing a short story, so there's a story-within-a-story aspect. The writing was pretty, maybe almost a little too pretty.
 
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steve02476 | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Jan 3, 2023 |
Mentre vaga in cerca di avventure, un giorno Parceval -o, se si preferisce, Parsifal - si imbatte in un singolare personaggio. E' il Re Pescatore: ferito all'inguine, privato della sua virilità, tormentato da dolori che non gli danno tregua, ha come unico svago la pesca. Come re, è per ciò stesso un simbolo di fertilità, ma il suo regno è condannato a essere sterile finché dura la sua menomazione...
Si chiacchiera molto, a bordo dell'Alecto in viaggio di crociera nelle Isole Britanniche, sotto i "vasti cieli" del Nord: i passeggeri non hanno ancora preso posto nelle loro cabine che già si alza un brusio fatto di confidenze, congetture, malignità, allusioni dotte o mondane. E se qualcuno rievoca quell'episodio delle storie di re Artù, è perché uno dei passeggeri più in vista, Henchman, un famoso fotografo, sembra assomigliare proprio al personaggio della laggenda: anche lui ferito in guerra, e accanito pescatore.
A rinfocolare la curiosità generale c'è poi il fatto che l'anziano signore dal carattere capriccioso e tirannico è accompagnato da una donna giovane e bellissima, l'ex ballerina Barberina Rookwood, che potrebbe essere sua figlia, o sua nipote.
A bordo dell'Alecto, Anthony Powell sembra aver convocato tutti i personaggi che, con la loro stravaganza ben temperata, possano consentirgli di esercitarsi in quello che costituisce uno dei punti di forza della sua narrativa: il dialogo. Gli amori, gli incontri, le tensioni, i conflitti che si scatenano tra i partecipanti della crociera si riflettono puntualmente nel gioco malizioso ed elegante del "parlato". Ma la verità dei punti di vista e delle interpretazioni è tale che i testimoni dei fatti finiscono per allontanare una possibile verità. Nella commedia mondana di Powell, modulata da uno humor avvolgente, tutto evapora in una leggerezza elusiva e forse malinconica.
 
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kikka62 | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Jan 28, 2020 |
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 striving, how the burden and gift of mortality can bring a man to his knees or lift his thoughts beyond himself . . . All that pebbled with scenes that come alive through a nostalgic nod at art, music, humor, sex, travel, domestic life , academic life, and sport makes this a big little book !
 
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nkmunn | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Nov 17, 2018 |
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 pages cover at least four separate stories and still be subtle? Pouncey distills the essence of every person, event, time, place, and mood, and serves it to the careful reader beautifully.

If you are going to go under, it shouldn't be from the weight of self-pity alone.""
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Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Jun 6, 2016 |
I read this "Rules for Old Men" on my Kindle for one of my book club selections and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Although these was sadness reading this story, is was very well done.

An old man, Robert MacIver, having lost his wife falls into a deep depression when thinking about his future life. He lives in a run down house in the countryside. The house needs much care taking. The front porch needs repairing and numerous daily tasks have to be done for him to successfully live in the house and just survive. He falls into a pattern of poor eating, lack of cleanliness and never shopping or cooking. He needs to lay in fire wood for the winter, shop for food, interact with others, make repairs on the house and yet he finds himself unable to move forward without his wife by his side

MacIver is a retired professor and a specialist in the First World War. As the story progresses, part of his regaining himself is re-telling his history, and that of others, focusing upon the conflict and horror of war. As he decides to move forward with his life, he establishes 10 rules for himself to live by. The journey he takes the reader on is one back and forth is time and place and is full of vivid memories. This story is wonderfully done and is a sad, fateful and yet a gentle story. This is a book I would recommend.
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WeeziesBooks | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Mar 23, 2011 |
Excellent book. Fascinating story of an old man in the throes of grief giving up on life and then deciding to live out the short remainder of his life with structure and grace. He develops his list of rules for living while waiting, and then begins the work of remembering and telling the stories of his life through the process of writing of a final book.
 
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JRexV | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Dec 8, 2010 |
This book follows an elderly military historian who holes up in his holiday home and pretty much waits to die. His wife and son are both dead, and being alone, he sets himself various rules which govern how he will spend his remaining days, in terms of cooking, doing a bit of writing each day, and so on, in an entirely believable old-military-blokeish short of way.

Sombre in tone, the novel takes the form of a series of reminiscences - how he met his wife, his early career as a rugby player, but mostly meditations on war - the First World War which accounted for his father, the Second, in which he was involved himself, and the Vietnam War which accounted for his son.

There is also a novel-within-a-novel which he is writing about soldiers in the trenches in WWI, and this was arguably the best part of the book, enjoying the greatest character development and having a discernible beginning, middle and end.

I liked the way the narrative moved from one section to another smoothly and quickly, leaving little time for boredom, but it was rather dry and cerebral in tone making it difficult to feel really involved with the characters.½
 
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jayne_charles | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Aug 25, 2010 |
This is a little novel with an enormous punch - to the head, to the gut, and especially to the heart. There is a book within a book here, and the characters in that "inner book" are as fully realized as the central character in the "outer book." Does that make sense? I hope so, because there is so much drama, so much history, and so much living packed into these 200 pages. I was simply stunned by it. There are capsule stories of two world wars and the Vietnam war. And there is a love story too. I mean, what the hell else could a reader ask? There is something for nearly everyone in this slight book, for male and female readers alike. It is simply a superb, virtuoso performance of writing. I LOVED it!
 
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TimBazzett | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Mar 22, 2010 |
The narrator's wife has died and he languishes in his woodland cabin struggling to regain a sense of dignity until he himself will die. He mines the past and works on writing a final story--one from World War I that is a story of honor and tragedy and betrayal, pointlessness in the face of war, and yet the beauty of honor and love. The meta reflections of the narrator on his characters adds incredible richness to his story-within-a-story, and his own story of their son lost to an embolism after surviving Vietnam, and the passion they instilled in him that made him join up. An exploration of what is right about humanity, and how love redeems grief, denial, anger.
 
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sungene | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Aug 16, 2009 |
It’s an elegaic yet exciting tale. McIvor has not long lost his much loved wife and the emotional core of his being has gone. He has allowed himself to drift listlessly into decay at their retreat in the mountains, and the disrepair of the building is a metaphor for his body. He hasn’t looked after the cabin and now it is falling down around him. Winter is coming and he has only limited supplies of food and not enough wood for the fire.

He is roused from his torpor by a fall from the porch as it crumbles under his feet. He realises that he has not much time left and he decides to take control of his final days. He knows he is dying but there are things he wants to do. Like the old man in Out Stealing Horses by Per Petersen, he wants to live his last days with dignity and purpose, but his is the life of the mind so he sets himself some rules: he will take care of his body so that he can write his story about men in the trenches in WW1.
For more see:
http://anzlitlovers.wordpress.com/2009/07/18/rules-for-old-men-waiting-by-peter-...
 
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anzlitlovers | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Aug 3, 2009 |
Beautifully and intelligently written; romantic in its highly charged view of an over accomplished hero; contains something rarer than hen's teeth: a literary account of a rugby match. Non fans need not fret - it's very brief. And as a side benefit you get a mystic gypsy personal trainer providing exotic services in French and Romany. More soberly, you get a perspective of war through brief compelling vignettes of individual experience neatly embedded in the text and stretching from World War I to Vietnam. The old man must die but it' s hard not to be exhilarated.
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michael09 | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Feb 16, 2009 |
I really enjoyed this, reading it in a day, and will read it again. A (deliberately) predictable ending that still managed to make me gasp on reading the last sentence. A sad, haunting and insightful story of the reflections, regrets and triumphs of a dying man, who goes out on his own terms despite his pain.
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grahamtridley | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Aug 27, 2008 |
A beautiful story with an ending you know is coming, but still takes you by surprise. Pouncey weaves three wars into a story of remembrance, honor (though not patriotic as much as honoring our own humanity when humanity seems impossible), and dignity. There are wonderful references to classical music that spurred me to seek out specific recordings. The ending is perhaps a little too "ghost in the machine," but it doesn't diminish the book's charm.
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Zmrzlina | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Jan 11, 2008 |
A Scottish history professor, MacIver, living his last months alone in his Cape Cod summerhouse after the death of his wife, writes an entertaining story about 4 soldiers during World War II, and reflects about his marriage to Margaret (an artist), his time in the navy, his experience as a historian, and the death of his son in Vietnam. His descriptions are spare, eloquent and lyric, and the story he writes about the soldiers and his own story diverge and play off each other like music. He calls his story a “fable”. Interesting questions about war, warriors and wrath are posed and partly answered. Maybe the depiction of the marriage is a little too positive for my taste, but then again, what do I know about marriage? Well worth reading.½
 
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deckla | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Feb 19, 2007 |
I recently finished a novel entitled Rules for Old Men Waiting by one Peter Pouncey, president emeritus of Amherst College and former dean of Columbia College. It's Pouncey's first novel, but it's smashing. The work gracefully portrays the reminiscences of an aging history professor living out his last days and recalling the various loves and wars (literally) of his life. The prose is elegant and incisive, and one definitely feels as if these experiences are taking place right in front of you. I highly recommend it.
 
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jterry | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Feb 13, 2007 |
Elderly man living alone and writing a book.
 
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DonnaDoris | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Jul 2, 2009 |
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