Thursday, February 28, 2013

Arcadia - Lauren Groff



"Like the tractor that leaps forward with a nudge of the throttle, Arcadia jumps into high gear. Someone is always breathless, someone is always running. People have long conversations about wood rot and epoxy. There are knocks on the Bread Truck door in the middle of the night, the Scavengers home from Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Utica... In the morning, Abe whistles while he fondles the intricate carved mantels or soapstone sinks that have magically appeared on the Quad in the Octagonal Barn. He is a whirlwind of plans, sudden private laughs, and his energy spreads into the others, makes even Bit want to dance."

Lauren Groff's Arcadia (Hyperion, 2012) is the beautifully written story of the rise and collapse of an idealistic community in upstate NY in the 1970s. Told from a child's tender and wonder-filled perspective, Arcadia explores the bonds of familial love and the pain of unbearable loss, and in doing so captures all that is good and all that fails horribly in this earnest but tragically misguided place. I am often suspicious of child narrators, all too ready to find them awkward or irritating - and I would never have expected to be so swept away by a novel about a commune - but Groff's charming prose and affectingly flawed characters surprised and enchanted me, start to finish.

Happy reading!


9 comments :

  1. I've heard both sides of the debate on this, overall it sounds worth reading. I expect a child narrator in a book like this is hard to figure out - reliability-wise.

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    1. I thought he was very reliable, in that you could see what he was seeing and interpret through your own adult lens, even while he still saw things as a child. He does also mature over the course of the novel and it is very interesting to see him grow and yet remain essentially himself. I thought it was a very lovely novel, although I could see how the writing style might not work for everyone.

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  2. Haha....another in the series of technologically challenged: I came to your blog last week and couldn't figure out how to comment on a post.

    This sounds like a good read...love the premise of the storyline, too.

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    1. I think you would love it, the mother/child relationship in particular is very moving and beautifully written. You are not the first one to be challenged - love the new blog look, but has def. come with a few hiccups!

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  3. That is a spectacular cover. I'm going to read this for that reason alone. Also, I dig the new look.

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    1. I so agree, it is a gorgeous cover! I hope you enjoy the novel (and thank you! :D)

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  4. I had put this on my TBR list then entirely forget what it was about or why I put it there in the first place. Thanks for reminding me! I'm excited to pick this up.

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    1. Found the writing so very lovely -hope you enjoy it!

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