Robert MacIver, the
protagonist of Rules
, is a recently widowed and
rapidly aging historian in his 80s
grieving alone through the winter in an unheated
Cape Cod house "older than the Republic"
in the late 1980s. As the house starts to crumble around him
he is driven to create a list of rules by
which to live out his last days with dignity
(he is dying of an unspecified ailment), including
eating regular meals, working every morning,
burning books by rival scholars to keep warm
and to "tell a story to its end". This
last rule spurs the old Scot on to invent a
strange and gripping tale of soldiers in the
trenches of the First World War.
This invented tale prompts...
Beyond the Book
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, where he completed his
classical education at boarding
school and at Oxford University.
In 1964 he was offered a job for
one year as a classicist,
filling in for a professor on
sabbatical leave at Fordham
University, and has been in
America ever since - first at
Fordham and then at Columbia
University from 1967-1984 (he
was dean of the college during
much of the 70s)...