Literature and War Readalong September 2012: Peace by Richard Bausch

This year’s readalong is a chance for me to read some of the great novelists and authors I hadn’t had an opportunity to read before. Since I’ve first read something about Richard Bausch he was on my list of authors I must read. He is quite famous as a short story writer, his work has appeared in numerous collections and magazines. Peace (2008) is set in Italy during WWII. This isn’t a tale of the home front but from the point of view of American soldiers. It is towards the end of the war, in 1944. Critics called it one of the best books they’ve ever read. A.L. Kennedy called it, lean, compact, layered, darkly humorous, unflinching and lyrical.

Here are the first sentences

They went on anyway, putting one foot in front of the other, holding their carbines barrel down to keep the water out, trying, in their misery and confusion – and their exhaustion – to remain watchful. This was the fourth straight day of rain – a windless, freezing downpour without any slight variation of itself.


The discussion starts on Friday, 28 September 2012.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2012, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.

29 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong September 2012: Peace by Richard Bausch

  1. A bit of a co-incidence is that I am reading a biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt and I am up to a part today where he and Churchill are discussing strategies and making decisions regarding the Italian campaign. Though Peace is fictional it looks to be realistic. You putting this up today Caroline is making me think about the contrast between the big picture where famous leaders are made huge decisions and the common individuals caught up in the conflict.

    • I know a bit something about the Italian campaign from the point of view of the Italians but not from the point of view of the Americans. Was it very bad. I think Monte Cassino must have been horrible.
      This contrast between leaders making decisions and the individuals caught up in the conflict is even more pronounced in the WWI accounts, where the leaders bad decision led to such incredible carnage.

          • Not sure what connection there is between Diane Setterfield and Bausch, but the Setterfield is probably the best Gothic to come along in half a century. It’s far more like the original Gothics of the Romantic Period than it is like the far paler imitations that have come out since. I wrote a review on it somewhere on my website. Just thought I would plug the book–I wish Setterfield would write something else. Bausch is an author I’m going to try to find tomorrow in the library when I go; I hope that I can find what I’m looking for there, otherwise I’ll have to wait, and I hate waiting for books!

            • Thanks for plugging the book. I’ll be looking for your review. I’ve had it for quite a while and was afraid it would be a dud.
              There is no connection between Bausch and Setterfield other than Ann is reading her instead of him.
              I hate waiting for books as well. When i want to read something, I want it NOW. Hope you will find it.

    • I remember you reviewed one of his books and it sounded excellent. I was surprsied to see he had written about WWII. For some reason I thought he was more someone who liked family stories.

  2. Look forward to the discussion! As before I won’t comment until you guys have read it.

    After reading this I looked for more Bausch, and your feeling about him writing more about families, relationships etc seems to be on the money Caroline.

    • That’s interesting. It was just a feeling I had when I saw one of his other books and for some reason thought, Peace isn’t familiar territory. I suppose since you were looking for other books by him that you liked him. We can discuss once the review is up.
      I hope you will join the discussion.

  3. I was trying to remember what I’d read of this author and it’s short stories. I have a lot of short story collections on my shelf, and I like to read these as a way of finding new authors. Never read a novel by him, though.

    • That’s a good thing about anthologies, i agrre. It looks as if he’s gotten quite a lot of prizes for his short stories. Peace should be well written. If we will like it, that’s another story.

  4. Caroline,
    I just picked up a copy at the library today. I so desperately want a copy of the one with the cover you’ve shown. Drat! My cover is drab. A very dull drab. I even went so far as to try searching online to purchase a book with this cover. The cheapest was $140. Guess I’ll have to forego for now! As I’ve said many times, book covers or “dust jackets,” as they’re known in the book collecting trade, are extremely important. Well, to me, anyway.

    Looking forward to reading. And I’m with you on more Literature and War Readalongs.

    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

    • I haven’t seen any other cover, this is the one I got but I’ve noticed before that the European and the American editions often look very different. I just cheecked and mine is indeed a UK edition. 140$!
      The Book Depository seels it fro 13£ – free shipping worldwide and with that cover. Just in case. 🙂
      I really know what you mean about the cover.
      Btw – German Literature Month is well on its way and we are integrating Bernard Schlink week very nicely. You will like the programme. It still needs some planning but we will announce it soon (end of this month hopefully).

    • Thanks, TBM. I suppose if they had anything of him it would be one of his other books.
      I wouldn’t have known about this one if there hadn’t been someone suggesting it last year.
      I’m very curious to find out how it is.

  5. Looks like a wonderful book, Caroline! Happy Reading! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the book and that of the readalong participants.

  6. I’m really looking forward to this. I have a copy checked out from the library but as it is short I’ll wait a bit before starting it. I’ve heard of Bausch, but I wasn’t at all familiar with his work, so this will be interesting–and the story sounds good, too. I finished the Appelfeld, by the way–last weekend. I am working on a post this weekend to put up early next week. I thought it was an excellent book, by the way, and I think one of my favorites so far (which is why I didn’t want to try and speed through a post on it during the work week).

    • I’m looking forward to this as well. I wanted to read him for quite a while now.
      I understand that you didn’t want to rush it. I think it’s one of my favourites too. I’m looking forward to your review.

  7. Pingback: Sunday Caught My Interest « Reflections from the Hinterland

Thanks for commenting, I love to hear your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.