Arcadia

Arcadia

Book - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : Voice/Hyperion, cc2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781401340872
1401340873
Characteristics: 291 p. ; 24 cm.

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b
bayougal
Oct 24, 2016

Fates and Furies was one of my favorite books of last year; looking forward to another from this author.

j
jenoteacher
Jun 02, 2016

Descriptions of life on the commune are rich and fully realized. I believe in this place called Arcadia, but somehow I could not completely believe in or care about the characters in the same way. The theme of noticing and accepting the moment held my interest.

n
NanCcan
Apr 20, 2016

Wow!
After reading the reviews here, I was prepared to not like this book, but it is thought-provoking in so many ways. It examines freedom, free will, democracy, leadership, death while still living and actual death, etc. Sure there is a lot of philosophy, but it is all organically woven into the story.

It makes us examine whether we are really present in our lives; for example, while he is watching a sunrise:
“watching the dawn slip in. He can’t remember the last time he quietly watched this drama unfold; what could possibly be so important that it kept him from doing this? When did he become a person who stopped noticing? First the moon dims, and in the east there’s a sit in the belly of the sky. A trickle of light pours over the hills, over the Amish farms, over the country roads, over the limit of Arcadia, the miles and miles of forest, startling the songbirds and lighting the dew from within. . . In a breath, the day is full upon him.”

It contemplates many issues related to Community: community in worlds set apart, such as the Amish, or a commune, is juxtaposed with community that can be found in a crowded city.

m
mewmewmew
Nov 23, 2015

Loved it so much, I'm making my mom read it now. Sweet and funny and incredibly visceral - veering towards the sadness lurking underneath at all times. Her story telling makes your mind paint pictures and you can't help but fall in love with Bit. Despite feeling like a warning in some ways, and the dystopia-style ending, i left this book with a sense of happiness. Truly a great read.

v
vv8
Sep 12, 2015

This book was beautifully written with lovely prose. I was consistently in awe of Groff's ability to use words and craft this spellbinding story. She does an excellent job creating the world of Arcadia and exploring the emotional effects of growing up in a hippie commune.

b
Belauthor
Aug 04, 2015

This tragedy of a 1960s-style commune (rise and fall) is a delightful read. Lauren Groff possesses a rare storytelling gift that keeps you on the edge of your seat. And though these characters have their flaws, you end up loving them.

b
bibliovore
Jul 22, 2015

This is a pensive, lyrical and emotional story, great for those who love character-driven novels. I didn't especially like Groff's first novel but adored this one - glad I went back to give her a second try, because this one is excellent.

s
SLoMotion
Jun 29, 2014

One of my favorite books of all time! This book still continues to feel like a dream I once had. Lovely story!

c
cheera55
Jun 04, 2014

Great book! Quick read and written so well! Love Lauren Groff!

e
EPalmer2295
Oct 31, 2013

A dreamy, lyrically-written chronicle of growing up in a hippie commune and the resulting life thereafter. The book wasn't gripping or terribly suspenseful, but more of an escape into a different way of life.

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vv8
Sep 12, 2015

vv8 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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