From the prize-winning author of In the Place of Fallen Leaves comes a beautiful, hypnotic pastoral novel reminiscent of Thomas Hardy, about an unexpected friendship between two children, set in Devon in 1911 1911. In a forgotten valley, on the Devon-Somerset border, the seasons unfold. Twelve-year-old Leopold Sercombe skips school to help his father, a carter. Skinny and pale, with eyes as dark as sloes, Leo dreams of a job on the Master's stud farm. As ploughs furrow the January fields, the Master's daughter, young Miss Charlotte, shocks the estate's tenants by wielding a gun at the annual shoot. Spring comes and Leo is breaking a colt when a boy dressed in a Homburg, breeches and riding boots appears. Peering under the stranger's hat, he discovers Charlotte.And so a friendship begins, bound by a deep love of horses, but divided by rigid social boundaries - boundaries that become increasingly difficult to navigate as they approach adolescence...Suffused with the magic of nature, this hallucinatory, beautiful tale of a loss of innocence builds with a hypnotic power. Evoking the realities of agricultural life with precise, poetic brushstrokes, Tim Pears has created a masterful pastoral novel, the first in a dazzling new trilogy.
From the prize-winning author of In the Place of Fallen Leaves comes a beautiful, hypnotic pastoral novel reminiscent of Thomas Hardy, about an unexpected friendship between two children, set in Devon in 1911
Clear-sighted storytellers in the tradition of ... Flora Thompson know that real life in the country is bursting with politics, mystery, sex and death, and all you need to do is describe it beautifully and carefully. Only a few authors are talented or brave enough to do that, and Pears, in his maturity, is one of them ... It is rare for a novel to be genuinely educational, but this is a work of fiction that could actually keep you alive after the zombie apocalypse. Pears has often been praised for his strong, clear prose and his ability to tell fascinating stories without fuss or fanfare. The Horseman is his best work in many years. As a testament to a forgotten generation of countrymen it is unsurpassed and it goes very nicely indeed with a dark night, rain on the windowpane and a cosy armchair The Times This is it. This is the real thing. This is whatever I mean by the work of a born writer ... The novel is comic, and wry, and elegiac, and shrewd and thoughtful all at once. Please read it' -- A. S. Byatt Daily Telegraph on In the Place of Fallen Leaves Too subtle to be sentimental, too well written to be obvious. The author is a gifted storyteller, steeped in country lore and the beauty of ordinary events. Like Thomas Hardy whose kindred spirit quietly animates these pages, he is concerned with the dignity of work, the force of destiny and the consequences of human passion New York Times Book Review Highly atmospheric ... It has an intoxicating, magical quality which completely beguiled me -- Jeremy Paxman Independent The writing is so genuine. Nothing is posturing or romanticised ... There's so much talent here -- Barbara Trapido An unusually well-made novel which, through being less English than one would expect, produces a very English kind of magic -- Giles Foden Independent on Sunday Refreshing ... even revelatory ... A work that is dense with detail and richly evocative ... A very impressive performance -- Jane Smiley An engaging, well-written and original novel. Pears could write about the washing up and make it interesting -- Philip Hensher Guardian It is most beautifully written, hypnotic as Proust, very funny and full of love that doesn't cloy -- Jane Gardam Reminiscent of Faulkner and Garcia Marquez, the writing retains a very English scale, closely observed and lyrical ... A triumph ... Sensitive, heart-warming and hallucinatory Financial Times Beautiful -- Salman Rushdie A remarkable first novel, which renders domestic detail fascinating and makes it quite possible to believe in magic Sunday Times It is tricky coming across a novel you want to praise to the skies. Cool dispassionate criticism is much safer. But Tim Pears' In the Place of Fallen Leaves is more perfect than any first novel deserves to be Observer A magnificent novel. In spare yet elegant precise prose Tim Pears offers entrance into a place and characters otherwise lost to time ... Leo Sercombe is one of the most engaging creations to come along in fiction in a long time and I eagerly look forward to following his life in future tellings. Tim Pears is a novelist of the first rank and I can't recommend The Horseman more highly -- Jeffrey Lent
Tim Pears is the author of eight novels: In the Light of Morning, In the Place of Fallen Leaves (winner of the Hawthornden Prize and the Ruth Hadden Memorial Award), Wake Up, Blenheim Orchard, In a Land of Plenty (made into a ten-part BBC series), A Revolution of the Sun, Landed (shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2012 and the 2011 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, winner of the MJA Open Book Awards 2011), and Disputed Land. He has been Writer in Residence at Cheltenham Festival of Literature and Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, and has taught creative writing at Ruskin College and elsewhere. He lives in Oxford with his wife and children. www.timpears.com