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Florida, the place, isn't high on my list of potential vacation spots (sorry, Sunshine State!). Florida, the book, is a different story: I wanted to crawl inside this collection and live there. Lauren Groff has proven her talent time and again and her latest is no exception — she inhabits every character fully and creates complex emotional landscapes that are as lush and tangled as the book's namesake. Whether she's writing about a pair of abandoned sisters, a troubled woman observing her neighborhood on solitary nighttime jogs, or a boy molded by his violent and unpredictable father, every piece is a complete, perfect thing. The result is a collection of unpretentious stories that are dazzling enough to make you squint. Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The much-anticipated return of the New York Times bestselling author of Fates and Furies.
Storms, snakes, sinkholes, and secrets: In Lauren Groff’s Florida, the hot sun shines, but a wild darkness lurks. Florida ”will have you shook for days” (Electric Literature) and is “so engrossing, you might miss your stop” (Apartment Therapy).
“Groff’s gifts as a writer just keep soaring higher and higher.” – NPR’s Fresh Air
In her thrilling new book, Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild — a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. A family retreat can be derailed by a prowling panther, or by a sexual secret. Among those navigating this place are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple, a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character — a steely and conflicted wife and mother.
The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida — its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind — becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. Groff transports the reader, then jolts us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty, as she writes about loneliness, rage, family, and the passage of time. With shocking accuracy and effect, she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury — the moments that make us alive. Startling, precise, and affecting, Florida is a magnificent achievement.
“Groff moves adroitly through an impressive range of lives, times, and places…The book stages an intriguing relationship between the individual and the collective.” Harper’s Magazine
“A virtuoso performance...The whole world is Florida, paradise because it’s dangerous and dangerous because it’s paradise.” Tampa Bay
“Florida is filled with brooding, inventive and often moving short stories — and I say this as a critic who has admired the architectural complexity of Groff’s work in the past...Groff’s gifts as a writer just keep soaring higher and higher.” NPR’s Fresh Air
“[Groff] stakes her claim to being Florida’s unofficial poet laureate, as Joan Didion was for California.” Washington Post
“Easily the year’s best story collection...these indelibly vivid tales read like inoculations against cynicism.” Vogue
About the Author
Lauren Groff is the New York Times bestselling author of three novels, The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia, and Fates and Furies, and the celebrated short story collection Delicate Edible Birds. Her work has been featured in the New Yorker, Harper’s, the Atlantic, and several Best American Short Stories anthologies. She has won the Paul Bowles Prize for Fiction, the PEN/O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize; and has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Orange Award for New Writers, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.