“Arcadia” by Iain Pears


"Arcadia" by Iain Pears is a long, complex novel which defeated several members of our group. However, three valiant women succeeded in completing the saga.

The prose is easy reading but the book contains several anachronisms which at times confused the story line. The novel is extremely convoluted with ten very clearly defined characters being followed through three separate "Worlds".

The first world setting is a frustrated Oxford academic who is responsible for writing the story. The second is the academic's imaginary parallel universe called Anteworld and the third world is a future world probably coming into being after an unstated catastrophe.

The whole book has an element of plagiarism by using themes from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Alice in Wonderland; Orwell’s 1984 and an element of Chick Lit".

Although a complicated story of magic, parallel universe and impending doom the author succeeds in collating all the various strings into a satisfactory conclusion.

Owing to over half the group's non-completion of the novel we were unable to give the book a score. However, it must be said that the others found the book, although challenging, an enjoyable read.