Tim Pears Bloomsbury €24
The final volume of Tim Pears’s superb West Country trilogy opens in 1916. The lovers at the heart of the story are separated by circumstances. Lottie is pursuing her dream to become a vet, while Leo joins the royal navy and, after surviving the Battle of Jutland, ends up helping to salvage the German vessels scuttled at Scapa Flow. There is plenty of heartbreak along the way, and though Pears writes with elegiac tenderness about a rural way of life that has come under threat, he never lapses into sentimentality. The narrative, from first to last, has an exemplary clarity.