Three interlocking worlds. Four people looking for answers. But who controls the future--or the past? Read more...
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?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-12-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Pearss (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 Lyttens 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 novels 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. 75,000-copy first printing. (Feb.)