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 ...
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.
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-11-21 Groff's dark, lyrical examination of life on a commune follows Bit, aka Little Bit, aka Ridley Sorrel Stone, born in the late '60s in a spot that will become Arcadia, a utopian community his parents help to form. Despite their idealistic goals, the family's attempts at sustainability bring hunger, cold, illness, and injury. Bit's vibrant mother retreats into herself each winter; caring for the community literally breaks his father's back. The small, sensitive child whose purposeful lack of speech is sometimes mistaken for slowness finds comfort in Grimms' fairy tales and is lost in the outside world once Arcadia's increasingly entitled spiritual leader falls from grace and the community crumbles. Split between utopia and its aftermath, the book's second half tracks the ways in which Bit, now an adult (he's 50 when this all ends, in 2018), has been shaped by Arcadia; a career in photography was the perfect choice for a man who "watches life from a good distance." Bit's painful experiences as a husband, father, and son grow more harrowing as humanity becomes increasingly imperiled. The effective juxtaposition of past and future and Groff's (Delicate Edible Birds) beautiful prose make this an unforgettable read. Agent: William Morris Endeavor. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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