Arcadia: A novel
In Arcadia, Iain Pears combines the genres of general fiction, fantasy, and science fiction into one, brilliant, cohesive whole. Professor Henry Lytten lives in 1960’s Oxford, writing a fantasy novel and befriending a teenager named Rosie. In the 2220’s, a brilliant but unstable Angela Meerson creates a machine capable of time travel, but must hide herself and her machine from greedy entrepreneurs who wish to use her work to mine resources for their badly damaged, futuristic world. Finally, Lytten’s fantasy world, Anterworld, comes to life, but how can a fantasy become reality without affecting reality?
The most striking aspect of this novel is the sheer complexity of the plot. Pears moves his main characters seamlessly between three entirely different worlds to create a truly unique storyline that is a delight to read. Furthermore, because of the worlds he constructs, Pears also posits some interesting questions about the nature and interaction between the past, present and future. For those looking for a well-crafted, thought-provoking, innovative plot that is nearly impossible to put aside, Arcadia must not be missed.