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Arcadia

by

Arcadia Cover

ISBN13: 9781401340872
ISBN10: 1401340873
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton comes a lyrical and gripping story of a great American dream.

In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after.

Arcadia's inhabitants include Handy, a musician and the group's charismatic leader; Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah's only child, the book's protagonist, Bit, who is born soon after the commune is created.

While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. If he remains in love with the peaceful agrarian life in Arcadia and deeply attached to its residents — including Handy and Astrid's lithe and deeply troubled daughter, Helle — how can Bit become his own man? How will he make his way through life and the world outside of Arcadia where he must eventually live?

With Arcadia, her first novel since her lauded debut, The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff establishes herself not only as one of the most gifted young fiction writers at work today but also as one of our most accomplished literary artists.

Review:

"Groff's dark, lyrical examination of life on a commune follows Bit, aka Little Bit, aka Ridley Sorrel Stone, born in the late '60s in a spot that will become Arcadia, a utopian community his parents help to form. Despite their idealistic goals, the family's attempts at sustainability bring hunger, cold, illness, and injury. Bit's vibrant mother retreats into herself each winter; caring for the community literally breaks his father's back. The small, sensitive child whose purposeful lack of speech is sometimes mistaken for slowness finds comfort in Grimms' fairy tales and is lost in the outside world once Arcadia's increasingly entitled spiritual leader falls from grace and the community crumbles. Split between utopia and its aftermath, the book's second half tracks the ways in which Bit, now an adult (he's 50 when this all ends, in 2018), has been shaped by Arcadia; a career in photography was the perfect choice for a man who 'watches life from a good distance.' Bit's painful experiences as a husband, father, and son grow more harrowing as humanity becomes increasingly imperiled. The effective juxtaposition of past and future and Groff's (Delicate Edible Birds) beautiful prose make this an unforgettable read. Agent: William Morris Endeavor." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"[Lauren Groff] has taken a quaint, easily caricatured community and given it true universality. And a book that might have been small, dated and insular winds up feeling 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

Review:

"I was constantly torn between wanting to gulp down this book or savor its lines. 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

Review:

"A moving look at the value of human connection in a scary, chaotic world." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Lauren Groff's dazzling new novel brings the flawed visions of a '60s commune to life....At a moment when so much floating anger struggles for articulation, it's Groff's essential human empathy that gives her work its urgency." Vogue

Review:

"One of our best young novelists brings a lost Eden of hippiedom freshly to life....Groff's prismatic prose style lends itself to the darker currents that run beneath the Arcadian dream...both poetic and ambitious." Elle

Review:

"[A] beautifully crafted novel...[it] gives full rein to [Groff's] formidable descriptive powers, as she summons both the beauty of striving for perfection and the inevitable devastation of failing so miserably to achieve it." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"An astonishing novel, both in ambition and achievement." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"Arcadia feels true, as do the characters who populate this extraordinary novel." Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

Review:

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

Review:

"Groff is one of our most talented writers, and Arcadia one of the most revelatory, magical, and ambitious novels I've read in years." Kate Walbert, author of the New York Times bestselling novel A Short History of Women

About the Author

Lauren Groff is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Monsters of Templeton and the critically acclaimed short story collection Delicate Edible Birds. She has won Pushcart and PEN/O. Henry prizes, and has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers. Her stories have appeared in publications including the New Yorker, the Atlantic, One Story, and Ploughshares, and have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories 2007 and 2010, and Best New American Voices 2008. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and two sons.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Danielle M, May 10, 2012 (view all comments by Danielle M)
A lush, intoxicating novel that charts the life of Bit Stone, the first born into the hippie commune of Arcadia, in the mid-sixties. Bit is acutely perceptive and it is this characteristic, along with Groff’s lyrical and heady prose, that make the novel come alive. From the smallest details--a peppermint that looks like a bloodshot eye--to the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in Bit’s life, like the “black dog” of depression that trails at his mother’s heels, every experience of Bit’s is keenly felt.

As Bit makes his passage into adulthood, so too does Arcadia suffer from a loss of innocence, falling short of the utopian ideal it set out to create. The plight of the commune and Bit’s own journey, both so intrinsically linked, are immensely satisfying. Even with one foot deeply rooted in the past and another stretching into the near future of 2018, Groff’s novel seems timeless--a swift kick to the heart that will surely resonate for a long time to come.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
HRO, January 26, 2012 (view all comments by HRO)
Beautifully written, masterfully crafted, and deeply melancholic, “Arcadia” is a gem of a book. Groff’s prose is lovely and rich in imagery. Just as an example: “Pigeons sit heaped on the roofline, buttoning house to sky.” The characterizations are marvelous, slowly evolving over the course of the story until everyone in the novel has become as fully fleshed as a real person. “Arcadia” is quietly philosophical, exploring the meanings of freedom and community, and the importance of friendship, family, and love. This book captured me, and I was spellbound.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Marianne Aldrich, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Marianne Aldrich)
Everything about this book was perfect. Love, love, love.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781401340872
Author:
Groff, Lauren
Publisher:
Voice
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20120331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in 19.9 oz
Age Level:
from 18

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» Featured Titles » Literature
» Featured Titles » New Arrivals
» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
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Arcadia Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Voice - English 9781401340872 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Groff's dark, lyrical examination of life on a commune follows Bit, aka Little Bit, aka Ridley Sorrel Stone, born in the late '60s in a spot that will become Arcadia, a utopian community his parents help to form. Despite their idealistic goals, the family's attempts at sustainability bring hunger, cold, illness, and injury. Bit's vibrant mother retreats into herself each winter; caring for the community literally breaks his father's back. The small, sensitive child whose purposeful lack of speech is sometimes mistaken for slowness finds comfort in Grimms' fairy tales and is lost in the outside world once Arcadia's increasingly entitled spiritual leader falls from grace and the community crumbles. Split between utopia and its aftermath, the book's second half tracks the ways in which Bit, now an adult (he's 50 when this all ends, in 2018), has been shaped by Arcadia; a career in photography was the perfect choice for a man who 'watches life from a good distance.' Bit's painful experiences as a husband, father, and son grow more harrowing as humanity becomes increasingly imperiled. The effective juxtaposition of past and future and Groff's (Delicate Edible Birds) beautiful prose make this an unforgettable read. Agent: William Morris Endeavor." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "[Lauren Groff] has taken a quaint, easily caricatured community and given it true universality. And a book that might have been small, dated and insular winds up feeling 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."
"Review" by , "I was constantly torn between wanting to gulp down this book or savor its lines. Even the most incidental details vibrate with life...Arcadia wends a harrowing path back to a fragile, lovely place you can believe in."
"Review" by , "A moving look at the value of human connection in a scary, chaotic world."
"Review" by , "Lauren Groff's dazzling new novel brings the flawed visions of a '60s commune to life....At a moment when so much floating anger struggles for articulation, it's Groff's essential human empathy that gives her work its urgency."
"Review" by , "One of our best young novelists brings a lost Eden of hippiedom freshly to life....Groff's prismatic prose style lends itself to the darker currents that run beneath the Arcadian dream...both poetic and ambitious."
"Review" by , "[A] beautifully crafted novel...[it] gives full rein to [Groff's] formidable descriptive powers, as she summons both the beauty of striving for perfection and the inevitable devastation of failing so miserably to achieve it."
"Review" by , "An astonishing novel, both in ambition and achievement."
"Review" by , "Arcadia feels true, as do the characters who populate this extraordinary novel."
"Review" by , "It's not possible to write any better without showing off."
"Review" by , "Groff is one of our most talented writers, and Arcadia one of the most revelatory, magical, and ambitious novels I've read in years."
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