Fiction: Arcadia, by Lauren Groff

Wow, I am seriously behind on Snip. And to think I’ve actually been keeping GoodReads fairly up to date. As if that’s significantly fewer steps (not really). Well, I won’t have a job again in two weeks so maybe my mission will be to catch you up, dear reader. In any case, on to Arcadia.

Lyrical, beautiful. Completely compelling. I liked Groff’s debut novel a lot, I liked the stories she put out next even more, and I loved this book quite deeply. There’s some seriously gorgeous pieces of writing in it, even in the moments where the story seems to be twisting in on itself. And Bit’s mind just thinks through things in such a wonderfully textured way.


I think I also loved this because this story basically covers my lifetime and there was a real sense of having been in those times at the same time as the character. I mean, that doesn’t even really describe how I felt while I was reading it but that’s about as close as I can come to encapsulating the feeling: I was born in 1968, my parents never became part of a commune but they were quite hippie-esque in some ways, and in 2018, six years from now, I’ll also be 50 and we (as a global society) could very well be facing something similar.

There were so many moments I loved in this book but one from near the end that was especially lovely was when Bit gives his students the “digital free” assignment; Sylvie’s essay is very cool.

Also when the fox and the deer run into each other and Bit’s laughter breaks the bad inside him… So many times Bit has these sensations of breaking through that feel very much like there’s an actual audible breaking even though it’s a mental or emotional state that’s being transformed… Oddly was I was walking home tonight musing on something that’s been upsetting me, I suddenly realized that I was feeling like the witch at the end of Dark Shadows (Johnny Depp/dir. Tim Burton), when she can no longer hide behind the false veneer and her skin begans to crack apart like a porcelain doll; sometimes I feel like this front I’m putting up to get through my days is just teetering right there on the breaking point where the next bad thing that happens may just go POP and half my cheekbone may just fall off as the porcelain “hey I’m cool, everything’s fine” begins to crack away from the dark bitter innards.

That’s more about me and less about this book but Bit is the kind of narrator who’s so deeply into his head that it sends you a bit into yours as well.

Dear Lauren Groff,
I love your writing. A lot.
keep it comin’, more more more!

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