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Arcadia by Lauren Groff
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Arcadia (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Lauren Groff

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907899,716 (3.84)84
Member:sjurban
Title:Arcadia
Authors:Lauren Groff
Info:Voice (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read 2012
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Arcadia by Lauren Groff (2012)

  1. 10
    Drop City by T. C. Boyle (booklove2)
    booklove2: Another amazing novel on hippie communes trying to find their place. Also, a similar writing style.
  2. 00
    The Hypocrisy of Disco: A Memoir by Clane Hayward (sanddancer)
    sanddancer: One is fiction, the other is non-fiction, but both are about childhoods in hippie communes
  3. 00
    The Beach by Alex Garland (booklove2)
    booklove2: The unending search for utopia that falls apart
  4. 00
    Room by Emma Donoghue (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both are excellently written; both stories are about raising a baby boy in a completely non-traditional setting and include strong depictions of being a mother in extreme circumstances.
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» See also 84 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
I looked forward to this book for a long time. I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but it was still a good read. Bit is a likable character, and the stories about the rise and eventual fall of Arcadia were interesting. I will most likely read her other book "The Monsters of Templeton". ( )
  Juliasb | Dec 1, 2016 |
I LOVED this! Achingly sad and beautifully written novel about growing up on a commune in upstate NY and the twists and turns that happen after leaving communal living. I have a few quibbles with the end but they are minor. Exquisite book. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
In Arcadia, we meet a group of idealistic young adults who left their own families and comfortable lives behind to found a hippie-utopian community called Arcadia. While there are a whole cast of complicated, wonderful characters, the story focuses on Hannah and Abe along with their son Ridley, who is the first child born in Arcadia. As the community struggles to create, develop, and maintain their ideal society, they constantly experience conflict, from each other as well as the outside world. Especially, the Arcadians have to come to terms with the ways that American culture has changed and shifted away from them and their ideals.

When we first meet Ridley, he is a very young boy, and we follow him through many decades of his life. We experience the world through his eyes, and share his excitement, discoveries, highs and lows, and his relationship with the world and people around him. His life mirrors the life of Arcadia itself. When it prospers and grows, so does he. When he falters and loses his way, so does the community. This reconciliation between the individual and the community is a driving force for Ridley and Arcadia. Overall, Arcadia is a lovely story about family, friendships, community, and the strength of the human spirit. ( )
  BooksForYears | Mar 31, 2016 |
In Arcadia, we meet a group of idealistic young adults who left their own families and comfortable lives behind to found a hippie-utopian community called Arcadia. While there are a whole cast of complicated, wonderful characters, the story focuses on Hannah and Abe along with their son Ridley, who is the first child born in Arcadia. As the community struggles to create, develop, and maintain their ideal society, they constantly experience conflict, from each other as well as the outside world. Especially, the Arcadians have to come to terms with the ways that American culture has changed and shifted away from them and their ideals.

When we first meet Ridley, he is a very young boy, and we follow him through many decades of his life. We experience the world through his eyes, and share his excitement, discoveries, highs and lows, and his relationship with the world and people around him. His life mirrors the life of Arcadia itself. When it prospers and grows, so does he. When he falters and loses his way, so does the community. This reconciliation between the individual and the community is a driving force for Ridley and Arcadia. Overall, Arcadia is a lovely story about family, friendships, community, and the strength of the human spirit. ( )
  BooksForYears | Mar 31, 2016 |
I read this back in October 2014, but never got around to reviewing it. Lauren Groff is a problem for me. I abandoned her first novel, The Monsters of Templeton, after 75 pages, because I was bored to tears. I would have abandoned this one, too, but it was a book club selection and therefore as mandatory to finish as homework.

This book is about Bit Stone, a kid raised in a hippie commune whose de facto leader is a musician who seems decidedly shady. The commune predictably collapses into chaos after a drug raid, and then the narrative turns to Bit as an adult. There are more drugs, there is degenerative illness, there is a worldwide epidemic of apocalyptic proportions. All this is told in prose that is often arrestingly beautiful.

What doesn't this book have? An ounce of emotion. The consensus in my book club was that the book viewed all of its characters from a distance, and the effect was beautiful but chilly.

Part of the problem for me might be a matter of expectations. The McGuffin of her books is so intriguing (a Loch Ness monster; cultish hippies) that it leads me to believe I'm in for a great story. But Groff is not a storyteller. She is, apparently, an artiste. ( )
  CasualFriday | Mar 27, 2016 |
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The lyrical and haunting story of a great American dream--the progress of a utopian community and its lasting impact on a gifted young man.

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