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Arcadia by Lauren Groff

Arcadia (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Lauren Groff

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7728011,968 (3.83)71
Authors:Lauren Groff
Info:Voice (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Arcadia by Lauren Groff (2012)

Recently added byBooksOn23rd, martitia, billnr, laurenhc, private library, ijustgetbored, e-zReader, Jodeneg
  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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I am a big fan of Groff's first novel The Monsters of Templeton, but put off reading Arcadia when it was released. Maybe the hippie cover turned me off, having lived through the time and not wanting to relive it. But, this novel is about so much more than a time and a place. It is a timeless story about memory, families and community. It is a elegant novel that brought me close to tears. Aracadia reminds me of Ishiguro's novels, especially Never Let Me Go. ( )
  martitia | Nov 25, 2015 |
Groff's first novel, THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON, was so good, I can hardly wait to read ARCADIA!
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
  jtemple | Oct 4, 2015 |
  jtemple | Oct 4, 2015 |
This book was so unexpectedly moving and beautiful. Yes, I had read that others thought Lauren Groff's writing really quite beautiful, and I was looking forward to a good tale set at a time when communes and co-ops were springing up all over far-flung fertile corners of the USA; but I did not bargain for such a vivid and immersive experience.

'Bit' is a small boy, just "a little bit", born while his hippy parents are part of a caravan of like-minded idealists on the road and searching for their new communal home. Our story begins in the early 1970s, when he is already about five and we see the colourful and stimulating world he and his parents live in - initially through the eyes of a bright and sensitive child. Arcadia is the name of their home, many acres of arable land and woodland surrounding a large and dilapidated old property - Arcadia House. There are fruit trees and a stand of Maples they tap for syrup. We see the Arcadians at work and play as they gradually mould their own society, build their homes, and bring up their own generation of children according to their own values.

The story evolves and we move forward to a time when Bit is about 12, and later still to his mid-teens. Arcadia has grown as well, and predictably undergone subtle though significant changes. Without wishing to give too much of the story away, as Bit and his friends and family absorb those changes, Arcadia's existence and setting in the local landscape develops in ways its founders did not foresee. The imprint of the place's DNA though, remains indelibly present in those whose home it has been.

Later in his life, Bit lives in New York with his daughter, and his parents each have their own life elsewhere. All of the characters are so fully drawn. I cared so much about what becomes of them. Groff takes the reader on a journey through these people's lives, and I went with them almost as if in a dream. The final section of the book is set in a very near-future, as circumstances will lead Bit to return to where everything begins. Completely engrossing, and beautifully written, a really memorable novel. ( )
4 vote Polaris- | Aug 2, 2015 |
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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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