A pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for Time’s Tide by Adrian Harvey, published by Urbane Publications on 14th March, available for kindle (just 99p at the moment) and in paperback. I couldn’t fit in the reading of this one, but I did notice that the author’s debut, Being Someone, was selected for the WHS Fresh Talent promotion. I was also intrigued to read that his work appeals to fans of Nicholas Sparks, Helen Walsh and Lucy Foley – and that’s quite an interesting prospect. Let’s take a closer look…
The new novel from the bestselling author of Being Someone and The Cursing Stone.
A father and son struggle to overcome the distance between them. Each is drawn irresistibly to an unforgiving landscape, one that has been the scene of tragedy and loss.
The son’s return to the northern shore he abandoned as a young man promises the chance to heal the rift. But is it too late?
Arni left his remote corner of Iceland as soon as he could, seeking opportunities beyond winter and fishing. Married to an English woman, he builds a life as a successful scientist but can never quite escape the pull of the West Fjords and bleak landscape of his birth, nor shake the guilt he feels towards his distant father.
When Eirikur goes missing, he sets off to find him on a windswept spit of land lost in an angry ocean.
Time’s Tide is a compelling and beautifully written story of loss, belonging and the silence between fathers and sons.
Yes, rather like the look of that! I’m delighted to welcome author Adrian Harvey as my guest today, talking about landscape as a character…
Sometimes it seems as though there are only two types of books: those that can be described as plot-driven, and others that are seen as character-driven. But what if still others are as much driven by place, in which character and plot emerge fully formed from the landscape?
The evocation of place is one of the most direct routes into a novel’s universe. This is unsurprising: all stories take place (the word is everywhere) in space as well as time. When we visualise a character, the ground they stand on is solid. Every dark and stormy night rages somewhere.
Grounding stories in place, rooting them in landscape and the myths they hold, has been a central concern in my own writing. My first novel, Being Someone, evolved from a story told to me amid the dust and noise of a city street in India; my second, The Cursing Stone, began as an attempt to discover anew my own city, but in the end emerged from the weathered stones of a small Scottish island. I took a trip up to the Small Isles in search of my eponymous ‘cursing stone’ and, while I didn’t find it, the landscape of Canna did give flesh to a hitherto minor character and also sparked an unexpected plot twist.
My new book, Time’s Tide, is largely set in the remote northwest of Iceland, and landscape takes an even more central role, almost becoming a character in its own right. Hornstrandir was abandoned by people in the 1950s because, even for Iceland, it was considered too inhospitable. It’s the kind of place where, even in summer, the snow stretches down to the surf line. I’ve been a few times now and it is stunningly beautiful, but I can’t imagine how bleak it is in winter. Within the story, the landscape positively seethes with malevolence. It is the originator of much of the loss and tragedy in the novel, but it is also the motor of the rest of the plot, not least because those associated with it are unable to resist its pull for long.
Place is no substitute for character and landscape cannot replace plot. But nor is it an also-ran, simply a setting for people and action. The best fiction – or at least, the fiction that I want to read – makes place an active participant in the story. It is how memory works. Madeleines might have been enough for Proust, but for me it is the light on the hillside, the glugging of the brook, or a glimpse along an empty city street that takes me to the heart of a story.
Thank you Adrian – wishing you every success with this one…
About the author
Since escaping the East Midlands to find his fortune in the big city, Adrian Harvey has combined a career in and around government with trying to see as much of the world as he can. He lives in North London, which he believes to be the finest corner of the world’s greatest city. His debut novel, Being Someone, was selected for WHS Fresh Talent, and he followed it with the acclaimed The Cursing Stone in 2017.