Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307268334, 192pp.
Publication Date: April 15, 2008
From the prize-winning novelist and world-renowned short story writer, recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award and the Academy Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, a powerful novel about war, trust, and salvation that begs to be read in a single sitting.
Italy, near Cassino. The terrible winter of 1944. A dismal icy rain, continuing unabated for days. Guided by a seventy-year-old Italian man in rope-soled shoes, three American soldiers are sent on a reconnaissance mission up the side of a steep hill that they discover, before very long, to be a mountain. And the old man’s indeterminate loyalties only add to the terror and confusion that engulf them on that mountain, where they are confronted with the horror of their own time—and then set upon by a sniper.
Taut and propulsive—with its spare language, its punishing landscape, and the keenly drawn portraits of the three young soldiers at its center—Peace is a feat of economy, compression, and imagination, a brutal and unmistakably contemporary meditation on the corrosiveness of violence, the human cost of war, and the redemptive power of mercy.
This is Richard Bausch’s eleventh novel. He is also the author of seven volumes of short stories. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Playboy, GQ, Harper’s Magazine, and other publications and has been featured in numerous best-of collections, including The O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and New Stories from the South. He is chancellor of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where he is Moss Chair of Excellence in the Writer’s Workshop of the University of Memphis.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR PEACE:
“Every single word of Richard Bausch’s beautiful, spare new novel Peace rings darkly, tragically true.”
“Richard Bausch’s Peace, set at the end of the Second World War in Italy, is a small masterpiece with the same emotional force and moral complexity as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Tolstoy’s Hadji Murad.”
“The experiences of battle fatigue and constant exposure to mortal danger are depicted with raw immediacy and terse power in this short novel from veteran Bausch. . . . [E]choes of Stephan Crane, James Jones and particularly William Styron’s The Long March. But Bausch sustains a gripping atmosphere of wintry dread, and he keeps the reader hooked with subtly accreting little surprises. . . . Bausch admirably turns a familiar story into something genuinely new.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An abrupt and chilling act of violence opens Bauch’s 11th novel, marking the beginning of a bleak but compelling meditation on the moral dimensions of warfare.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] consummate and versatile short story writer and novelist tells one soldier’s story in a war novel distilled to its chilling essence. . . . Bausch’s tale of one act in the immense blood-dark theater of military conflict is razor-sharp, sorrowfully poetic, and steeped in the wretched absurdity of war, the dream of peace.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Bausch is best known for his short stories, but this powerful novella demonstrates his skill at spare language and tight construction.”
EXTRAORDINARY PRAISE FOR RICHARD BAUSCH:
“In the small firmament of American writers who’re both superb novelists and eloquent short-story practitioners Richard Bausch’s star shines more brightly now more than ever.”
“Richard Bausch’s novels are among the best being written in America today.”