Tim Pears is the author of ten novels, including In the Place of Fallen Leaves (winner of the Hawthornden Prize and the Ruth Hadden Memorial Award), In a Land of Plenty (made into a ten-part BBC series), Landed, and most recently, The Horseman, The Wanderers and The Redeemed, which make up the much acclaimed West Country Trilogy.
We are very excited that Tim will be at the shop on 27th June to talk about the West Country Trilogy and before his visit we asked him:
Q: What book changed your life?
A: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
So many books have changed my life, and continue to do so. I just read an amazing masterpiece by Ivo Andric, Omer Pasha Latas, about an Ottoman army garrisoned in Sarajevo in the 1860s. It’s a bit like a Catch-22 for the Balkans. I think it’s the first translation into English, by Celia Hawkesworth. A beautiful book.
But delving into my youth, or rather young manhood, when I was already aspiring to write but not really getting anywhere, I read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The story of a founding family of a village in the jungle called Macondo, and the lives of subsequent generations. Written in a style we now call magic realism, it was utterly new to me. The mingling of the terrible with the everyday, the straightforward with the fantastical, love with cruelty. To be honest, I was bewildered. I reached the end and wondered what exactly I’d just wasted many hours of my life wading through.
Yet something made me seek an answer by going straight back to page one and starting again. This time it was as if the scales fell from my eyes and every contradiction made sense, every paradox was explicable, the madness had meaning. By the end of this second reading, not only did I realise that this masterpiece was one of the best books I’d ever read, but it enlarged my world, it freed me to write about all the people I knew rather than just those I thought I should write about, as a modern young author. So that in my first novel, In the Place of Fallen Leaves, I could give credence to my beloved grandmother’s eccentricity, to an old man’s love affair, to the variety of characters to be found in a small Devon village – not dissimilar to the one I grew up in.