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

by Lauren Groff

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
929949,394 (3.83)86
Member:DougWarn
Title:Arcadia
Authors:Lauren Groff
Info:Voice (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction

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 86 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
Bit Stone is the first child born into a commune, Arcadia, in process of being founded in upstate New York. We follow Bit from the early days of the Arcadia through its heyday and its eventual demise. And onward to life beyond Arcadia and what that might mean, for good or ill. Ever Bit is connected, first and foremost to family — his mother, Hannah, and his father, Abe — and second to the other members of Arcadia. And especially to Helle, daughter of Arcadia’s founder, Handy, and as troubled a soul as one might find in heaven or without. Bit grows but never loses his pure love for Arcadia, even if it exists primarily in his mind in the end. What starts out as an apparent social historical novel develops a grander sweep carrying us with Bit into a future that is filled with loss. And yet Bit finds new hope, eventually, through a return, temporarily, to the land that nurtured him in his youth.

The writing here is gorgeous. Lyrical and gothic in turns, it captures both the idyllic nature of Bit’s childhood and the dark aspects of that which he cannot entirely keep at bay. That it turns surprisingly grim is just part of what makes this such an interesting read.

Recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Feb 16, 2017 |
Formal review will be posted on Flyway blog @ http://flyway.org/blog/ ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
This is a book that is melancholy - written beautifully, but emotionally, a bit a flat. The characters were interesting, and I enjoyed reading about their life, but they never seemed to go anywhere. Bit is still the same innocent kid, even after growing up. Hannah, always looking for something that doesn't exist. Helle, lost, never found. The only really "real" character is Grete.

I found the setup of Arcadia incredibly interesting. I suspect that its a fairly good representation of how a commune was setup. However - the timing of the story, seemed off - especially at the end the book. I think it could have been a much better book if it didn't end in the near future - it didn't fit the first two parts of the story, hippie Arcadia, and modern Boston. I also wished it closed Helle's Story - even a mention would have been all that is needed. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jan 28, 2017 |
The first half was 5-stars spectacular. But then it just went on too long, like a great, tight novella trying to be a novel. Oh well. The writing itself was lovely. I may try her short story collection after this. ( )
  beckyrenner | Dec 29, 2016 |
I hope this improves a bit, not what I expected at all from this author.
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
The first half was 5-stars spectacular. But then it just went on too long, like a great, tight novella trying to be a novel. Oh well. The writing itself was lovely. I may try her short story collection after this.
 
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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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