The Rules of EngagementBook - 2000
The war raging within: the author of the critically acclaimed Minus Time delivers a powerful bullet on the nature of love and war, risk and responsibility
Despite her hatred of physical violence, Arcadia Hearne is a researcher who studies contemporary war. Specializing in issues of risk and military intervention, she methodically surveys the rich arsenal of current global conflicts available to her dispassionate intellect. Ironically, she can't seem to come to terms with her own inner conflicts, desperately trying to balance the scales of emotional risk and emotional pain.
Arcadia is haunted by a violent episode in her past, an incident involving two university students, both her lovers, who resort to an old-fashioned pistol duel in a Toronto ravine to decide who will win her love. Hidden in the trees, Arcadia can't bring herself to intervene. Guilt-ridden and confused, she flees to London, England, as she says, looking for protection from violence through knowledge, through explanations, but not through love. Only when she meets Amir, her new lover, whom she discovers to be an (idealistic) passport forger, does she begin her reconciliation with her past.
The Rules of Engagement is an exceptional second novel from rising literary star Catherine Bush. A powerful exploration of what love is, the emotional borders we must cross in order to try and attain it, and the responsibilities inherent in its possession, The Rules of Engagement is also a compelling literary thriller, as Arcadia's past rushes up to meet her, and her future almost leaves her behind.
With its strong and lyrically evocative prose that moves from 1980s university life in Toronto to the gritty, yet vibrant atmosphere of today's London, The Rules of Engagement has an extraordinary sense of time and place, and a thoughtful, timely focus that both touches the heart and engages the mind.