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 and worlds.
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?
"Not so much a novel as a cornucopia of narratives.... As a novelist, Iain Pears doesn't repeat himself, and he gives with a generous hand." (The Spectator)
"Extremely clever but, better than that, immensely entertaining.... Pears almost seamlessly merges genres of fantasy, sci-fi, spy thriller, romance, and more." (The Oxford Times)
"A fantastical extravaganza.... A complex time-travelling, world-hopping caper with insistently epic stakes." (The Guardian)
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Delightful genre fiction mash-up
- Maine Colonial 🌲
Great story, unfortunate choice of narrator (Lee)
Such a fun story! Time-hopping, world hopping! Social commentary with a light-ish touch. An interesting discussion of the ways societies organize themselves, the benefits and the difficulties. Also, an interesting way to look at how our perceptions are limited by the times/places we live in. I enjoyed Jayne Entwistle's performance. John Lee, on the other hand, drove me to buy the book and read the second half in print. I guess he was trying to distinguish different male characters, but the result is some unendurably cartoon-like voices.