Arcadia by Iain Pears hasn't been on my TBR for very long. But it's a chunkster (608 pgs) with an accompanying app (which I've downloaded in preparation).
The novel contains ten separate story strands. Pears explains (in his Guardian interview) that "each narrative is complete but is enhanced when mingled with all the others; to offer readers the chance to structure the book as best suits them."
I'm not quite ready to tackle such a big multi-modal reading experience so soon after A Little Life, even though the story line brings to mind both David Mitchell and Kazuo Ishiguro (two favourites of mine).
Henry Lytten - a spy turned academic and writer - sits at his desk in Oxford in 1962, dreaming of other worlds.
He embarks on the story of Jay, an eleven-year-old boy who has grown up within the embrace of his family in a rural, peaceful world - a kind of Arcadia. But when a supernatural vision causes Jay to question the rules of his world, he is launched on a life-changing journey.
Lytten also imagines a different society, highly regulated and dominated by technology, which is trying to master the science of time travel.
Meanwhile - in the real world - one of Lytten's former intelligence colleagues tracks him down for one last assignment.
As he and his characters struggle with questions of free will, love, duty and the power of the imagination, Lytten discovers he is not sure how he wants his stories to end, nor even who is imaginary...
Part of the appeal for this week's classic is the Introduction by Hilary Mantel; another part is the beautiful Virago Modern Classics designer cover.
Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins
A love story with a difference, this exquisite novel subtly demonstrates that in affairs of the heart, the race is not necessarily to the swift—or the fair. It comes with a beautiful cover by Florence Broadhurst.
The magnetic Evelyn Gresham, 52, is a barrister of considerable distinction. He has everything life could offer—a gracious riverside house in Berkshire, a beautiful young wife, Imogen, who is devoted to him, and their 11-year-old son, a replica of his father.
Their nearest neighbor is Blanche Silcox, a plain, tweed-wearing woman of 50 who rides, shoots, fishes, and drives a Rolls Royce—in every way the opposite of the domestic, loving Imogen.
Their world is conventional country life at its most idyllic: how can its gentle surfaces be disturbed?
Have you read either of these books?
Have you ever used an app to enhance your reading experience?