Envision that an imaginary world you created truly existed. And that your imagined world begat other worlds. Welcome to Arcadia. In his inventive romp audaciously imagined, Pears builds the cosmology and the spectacle of an otherworldly story enchantingly told. Recommended By Michal D., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the international best seller An Instance of the Fingerpost, Arcadia is an astonishing work of imagination.
Three interlocking worlds. Four people looking for answers. But who controls the future — or the past?
In 1960s Oxford, Professor Henry Lytten is attempting to write a
fantasy novel that forgoes the magic of his predecessors, J. R. R.
Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. He finds an unlikely confidante in his
quick-witted, inquisitive young neighbor Rosie. One day, while chasing
Lytten’s cat, Rosie encounters a doorway in his cellar. She steps
through and finds herself in an idyllic, pastoral land where
Storytellers are revered above all others. There she meets a young man
who is about to embark on a quest of his own — and may be the one
chance Rosie has of returning home. These breathtaking adventures
ultimately intertwine with the story of an eccentric psychomathematician
whose breakthrough discovery will affect all of these different lives
Dazzlingly inventive and deeply satisfying, Arcadia
tests the boundaries of storytelling and asks: If the past can change
the future, then might the future also indelibly alter the past?
Pears’s (An Instance of the Fingerpost) latest is a clever well constructed story. Living in an environmentally ravaged future governed by a technocratic so called Scientific Government the “psychomathematician” Angela Meerson builds a machine that could in theory access the resources of a parallel universe. However the contraption turns out to be a good old fashioned time machine that transports Meerson to pre WWII Europe. Several decades later in 1960 she has built a new version of her machine in the cellar of the house of her lover Henry Lytten an Oxford literature scholar and intelligence agent who also dabbles in creative writing. Drawing heavily on the tropes of the Elizabethan pastoral and many other sources Lytten has outlined a novel set in the fantasy realm of Anterworld. Anterworld is an oral culture whose priests are “Storytellers” scholar bards who roam the land and impart wisdom through sacred tales. Meerson uses Lytten’s sketchily conceived world to create a “latent” universe in her machine a universe that gets activated with unforeseen consequences when a young girl named Rosie stumbles into the realm. Anterworld is meant to be derivative borrowing from the long literary tradition of utopia and fantasy; this quality perhaps explains why although it gets the most attention of the novel’s three narratives Anterworld is the least enchanting. Nonetheless Pears excels at stage managing the multiple sets as the actors leap from the dystopian future to England in the grips of the Cold War to whenever Anterworld could be said to exist altering history as they go. A fun immersive genre bending ride. 75000 copy first printing. (Feb.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
“A fantastical extravaganza....A complex time-travelling, world-hopping caper with insistently epic stakes.” Steven Poole, The Guardian
"Arcadia is a gripping tale, with memorable characters who lead
us through the plot’s twists and turns to the book’s deeply satisfying
resolution. Iain Pears has long been one of my favorite authors, and Arcadia is another example of his masterful storytelling: deftly told, genre-defying, and a treat to read.” Deborah Harkness, best-selling author of A Discovery of Witches
“With Arcadia, Iain Pears has woven a delightful tapestry in the
bold colors of complexity, wonder, and irony, even while offering the
careful reader a chance to ferret out numerous literary allusions. Arcadia
is filled with satisfying surprises up to the last sentence of its
telling. Only a novelist with the knowledge and mental agility shown
again and again by Iain Pears could give readers a gift as rich as Arcadia.” Dan Simmons, best-selling author of The Terror
About the Author
IAIN PEARS is the author of the best sellers An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Dream of Scipio and Stone’s Fall, and a novella, The Portrait, as
well as a series of acclaimed detective novels, a book of art history,
and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects.
He lives in Oxford, England.