Arcadia by Lauren Groff

56%

5 Critic Reviews

...main characters who remain half-strangers to us; a conclusion that feels thin; deeper wisdom that's hinted at but floats unanchored, impossible to fully trust.
-NPR

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Timeless and vast... The raw beauty of Ms. Groff's prose is one of the best things about Arcadia. But it is by no means this book's only kind of splendor."---Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Even the most incidental details vibrate with life Arcadia wends a harrowing path back to a fragile, lovely place you can believe in."---Ron Charles, The Washington Post

In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday. Arcadia's inhabitants include Handy, the charismatic leader; his wife, Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah's only child, Bit. While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. He falls in love with Helle, Handy's lovely, troubled daughter. And eventually he must face the world beyond Arcadia.

In Arcadia, Groff displays her literary gifts to stunning effect.

"Fascinating."---People (****)

"It's not possible to write any better without showing off."---Richard Russo, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Empire Falls

"Dazzling."---Vogue
 

About Lauren Groff

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Lauren Groff is the author of the New York Times bestselling MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON and the critically acclaimed short story collection DELICATE EDIBLE BIRDS. She has a BA from Amherst College and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her short stories have appeared in several literary publications, including The Atlantic Monthly and Ploughshares, and she has won fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and Yaddo.
 
Published March 13, 2012 by Hachette Books. 309 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Arcadia
All: 5 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by John Wilwol on Apr 06 2012

Groff also brilliantly captures the rise and fall of Arcadia.

Read Full Review of Arcadia | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Mar 18 2012

...“Arcadia” lets the 5-year-old Bit discover a book of Grimm’s fairy tales and make it a secret treasure. That book comes to signify his longing for the darkness that was always all around him but could never be acknowledged by Arcadian orthodoxy.

Read Full Review of Arcadia | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Kapka Kassabova on Apr 13 2012

The requited maternal ecstasy the author feels for Bit, combined with turgid storytelling results in a novel that could be a one-page love poem, and in that sense feels 288 pages too long.

Read Full Review of Arcadia | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Sara Marcus on Mar 15 2012

...main characters who remain half-strangers to us; a conclusion that feels thin; deeper wisdom that's hinted at but floats unanchored, impossible to fully trust.

Read Full Review of Arcadia | See more reviews from NPR

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Jc Sutcliffe on Mar 16 2012

Contemporary literary novels with child narrators are frequently irritating, since the child must either be precociously capable of expressing to an adult audience how it feels to be a child... Groff handles this problem with elegance and skill.

Read Full Review of Arcadia | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Reader Rating for Arcadia
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Terri McGinty

Terri McGinty 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list