• by Iain Pears
  • Narrated by John Lee, Jayne Entwistle
  • 20 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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?


What the Critics Say

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great story, unfortunate choice of narrator (Lee)

If you could sum up Arcadia in three words, what would they be?

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.

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- Ms.

Great fun!

I can't even begin to imagine how to describe this book. Time travel, fantasy, sci fi, Shakespeare, the Wizard of Oz, the end of the world, romance, coming of age . . . it has a fantastically complex plot which does make sense (I'm pretty sure), a lot of terrific characters, snappy dialogue, interesting futuristic scenarios, and excellent writing. If you get impatient with fantasy/sci fi elements, you're not going to go for this, but if you suspend disbelief and go along for the ride, it's a blast. It's a really fun book, and just when you think you're getting a handle on things, Pears pulls a hard u-turn and you're off to someplace else. In the end it is satisfying!

The narration is generally very good. My only quibble is that John Lee's voicing of Angela Meerson was in a completely different universe from Jayne Entwistle's voicing of the same character. John Lee seemed to veer into Monty Python or Dame Edna territory, where Entwistle (what a great name) did a fairly straightforward and very believable geek-ish reading. But that's a minor quibble, and the book is delightful and like nothing else you've ever read.
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- Bonny "Addicted to books, both print and audio-."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-09-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio