In John Knowles’ complex and mesmerizing novel, A Separate Piece, the book is presented as a fascinating story of two young boys who attend the military boarding school of Devon, New Hampshire. Based back in World War II, the story focuses on the development and maturity of two boys who openly reject the war and create a mind set for other goals, such as the Olympics of 1944 and everyday freedom. However, as they excel through their senior year the threat looms ever closer and the two boys must deal with the problem once they graduate.
The novel presents an interesting view on the complexity of friendships, combining love, hate, war, and peace to create a chemical time bomb capable of wrecking the reader’s mind relating to how bonds originally function. The piece is a nice dose of twists and turns to keep the reader in silent anguish until moments of injury, insanity, and death interrupt the smooth flow of peace. Personally, there couldn’t be any changes that would create a novel that would twist the mind like this does. However, it would be interesting to view the story through Phineas’ eyes, and have Gene as the one who was injured. There is no doubt indeed though that John Knowles created the sensational novel for his readers, with every death and every betrayal a part of his grand plan.