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, marked only by the rituals of the farming calendar. Twelve-year-old Leopold Sercombe skips school to help his father, a carter. Skinny and pale, Leo dreams of a job on the estate’s stud farm. He is breaking a colt for his father when a boy dressed in a Homburg, breeches and riding boots appears. Peering under the stranger’s hat, he discovers Miss Charlotte, the Master’s daughter. And so begins a friendship between the children, bound by a deep love of horses, but divided by rigid social boundaries – boundaries that become increasingly difficult to navigate as they approach adolescence.
A novel that is as moving and profound as it is evocative of the landscape and period ... Pears's fiction has been likened to Thomas Hardy's, and the comparison is apposite. As a coming-of-age novel, The Horseman is wise and insightful. As a love story, it is moving and sincere. And as a portrayal of rural Edwardian England, it is powerful, vivid and humane * Observer * 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 * The Times * The pleasure of it lies in taking in the language and the setting - the West country, in 1911 and 1912 - and in reading it like a long poem, with each chapter a stanza ... The natural world is sometimes antagonistic, sometimes beautiful, but always alive with detail ... I am ready for volume two -- Jane Smiley * Guardian * With hypnotic lyricism, Pears describes this bucolic Devon world and the people who inhabit it ... [A] paean to the pastoral * Mail on Sunday * A mesmerising book ... An evocation of the pre-First World War countryside, sparely written and imagined with exceptional fidelity -- Clive Aslet * Country Life * The most entrancing novel I read this year is The Horseman by Tim Pears. This intelligent and moving evocation of life on a country estate just before the First World War is both down-to-earth and magical -- Allan Massie * Sunday Herald, Books of the Year * This book needs to be read with quiet attention to reap its rich rewards -- John Harding * Daily Mail * An assured, slow-burn, lyrical book, a rewarding read in our troubled times. Once again Pears celebrates growing up, the trials of family life and the beauty and wildness of untamed nature, offering fascinating insights into the consolations as well as the cruelties of rural life -- Jackie McGlone * Herald * A beautiful portrait of rural life at the turn of the century ... Tim Pears combines meticulously researched historical material ... all depicted in rich, evocative detail - with lush, languorous, melodic prose ... A distinctly compelling pastoral bildungsroman that leaves the reader eager for the next installment * BBC Countryfile * Evocative of Hardy ... The Horseman is itself an exhilarating vision, a bittersweet elegy for the innocent certainties of an agrarian world before the industrialised horrors of the 20th century come crashing down * Irish Times * 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 Neatly crafted and compelling * Spectator *
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