I recently finished a book, Arcadia, by Iain Pears which turned out to be astonishingly good. (frankly finishing ANY book lately is itself astonishing)
It was recommended by an acquaintance and I got it from the library on a whim, soon thereafter wondering if I had made the right choice. The book follows many characters in entirely different worlds and I was unsure if that format would work with how I read books these days. I don’t have many opportunities for actual reading and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep track of so many different story threads.
My worries were unfounded as Arcadia weaves these seemingly disparate people and places together into an incredible tapestry that had me riveted in a way that I haven’t experienced from a book in a while. Also, I’m sorry to have just used that textile metaphor but it truly is the best way to describe what Iain Pears has assembled. I’ll won’t describe Arcadia further as it’s best experienced yourself.
What actually drew me to Arcadia in the first place is that there’s an interactive app version of the book where you can follow each character’s arc however you’d like. While I still think the book is the optimal way to experience Arcadia, the app is fascinating in its own right and a testament to how carefully the author plotted everything. It’s remarkable how well each character branch stands on its own and how hopping from chapter to chapter doesn’t break the narrative.
Arcadia proved to be a fine distraction on what has been an awful commute the last few weeks. Even though I mainly engaged with the book, and while the order in which you read the story doesn’t change its outcome, Arcadia turned out to be one of the finest pieces of interactive fiction I’ve engaged with.
Arcadia‘s interesting cast of characters and seemingly disparate worlds are wound together in such a masterful fashion, at the end of the story I could only nod my head in wonder.
(And an additional shout out to my county library for having the book in its system!)