Books by Tim Pears

Released: July 23, 2019

"Pears' achievement is in his fine evocation of an era that's largely been lost and in his attention to the natural world."
Battle, its aftermath, and the dawning of a new era shape the third episode of Pears' (The Wanderers, 2018, etc.) epic tale of love—love for the land and between two long-separated souls. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2018

"Episodic, instructive, occasionally resonant, this is slow, lambent fiction that pays unsentimental tribute to ways of being now disappeared from the land."
A teenage boy scrapes a living roaming the southern counties of pre-World War I England as a girl he loves drifts toward maturity in surroundings of insulated privilege. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"This leisurely curtain raiser, a gloriously devoted poem to England's past, springs to life in its final chapters."
In the foreground of a reverent portrait of pre-World War I England, a talented boy's life is set in motion. Read full book review >
LANDED by Tim Pears
Released: July 1, 2011

"Lovingly crafted but—like its central character—introverted."
In a finely observed if uneven elegy to loss, British writer Pears (In a Land of Plenty, 1998, etc.) tracks the lonely youth and tragic adulthood of a quiet man. Read full book review >
Released: March 16, 1998

An agreeable and generally absorbing second novel from the British author of the highly acclaimed contemporary pastoral In the Play of Fallen Leaves (1995). At a pace that can only be called leisurely, Pears traces the divergent though inevitably intertwined histories of the Freeman siblings over the 40-year period following their father's purchase of Hillmorton Manor, a huge storybook house perched on a hill overlooking a provincial industrial English village. Ambitious, overbearing Charles—whose manufacturing company prospers throughout the '50s and beyond—and his delicate, ``poetic'' bride Mary happily produce, then gradually quarrel over and stake claims to, three strapping sons and a dreamy, withdrawn daughter. Pears expertly limns the children's conflicting personalities (Robert, perpetually intemperate, is an especially vivid portrayal) and details their complicated relationships with family, friends, and servants—while also focussing, as it were, on the second Freeman son James, who survives a congenital deformity corrected by orthopedic surgery and who will find in his passion for photography both a refuge from the torments of growing and changing and a means of reconciling himself to the family he challenges, escapes, and, ultimately, realizes he needs. The narrative's omniscience is occasionally oppressive (laden with coy foreshadowings of later developments), and one feels the presence of a heavy authorial hand also in the recurring coincidences that suggest characters being foreordained for the paths they believe they've chosen. What keeps us reading are Pears's clarity and directness, and the ingenious detail with which both the Freemans' embracing environment and their varying accommodations to it are pictured. This novel does create a world, and does convey a sense of time passing, in a way that will give much pleasure to many readers. Not quite equalling its author's ravishing debut, but, still, a consistently entertaining and often captivating read. Several cuts above Delderfield and Cronin, and two or three below Angus Wilson, whose No Laughing Matter it resembles. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 31, 1995

This captivating debut novel roams the dry valley of a rural English village during the summer drought of 1984, revealing lushness in simplicity and the awesome untapped power and wisdom of a girl on the verge of womanhood. Through 13-year-old Alison Freemantle, the youngest child of a once poor but now surprisingly prosperous farming family, readers discover the long and endearingly quirky history of the Freemantle clan. Alison has plenty of time to ponder the past and present (although rarely the future, which seems not to tempt these rural inhabitants), since the town floats in a state of limbo as a result of the severe drought that has ``poured a hot glue that slowed everything down.'' Alison makes the most of the heightened sensibility the weather invokes in her family and her neighbors, and with the free time afforded by the end-of-summer teachers' strike, she weeds her way enticingly through the family's sordid past. (Beyond the three generations in her house, the rest of Alison's relatives inhabit a derelict street called Rotten Row, where years of inbreeding result in the occasional ``unaccounted child here or a mismatched aunt there.'') Alison recounts her mother's discovery that her father was a closet alcoholic and how this disease eventually led to memory loss that keeps his family only faintly familiar to him. She breathes life into a vampy sister (at least she'll escape), her eldest brother, Ian (chess genius, heart-breaker, and heir to the farm), and her chubby brother, Tom (uncomfortable with people and ``bound to the land from birth''). She shares the development of a new and precious friendship with the son of a local viscount; and she offers details of other valley dwellers, including the rector's love affair with a Portuguese maid. Pears includes more tragedies (deaths, betrayals, illnesses, fires, disappointments) than successes. Yet this tale remains heartening as Pears reveals the secret beauty of the hard life of the land through unsentimental and magical prose. Read full book review >