Arcadia

Lauren Groff, Author
Lauren Groff. Hyperion/Voice, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4013-4087-2
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4013-4278-4
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Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-434-01963-2
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-434-01962-5
Hardcover - 467 pages - 978-1-4104-4861-3
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4481-3652-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-0618-0
Hardcover - 310 pages - 978-1-4712-0010-6
Hardcover - 9 pages - 978-1-4712-0348-0
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-75162-9
Open Ebook - 162 pages - 978-0-316-33099-2
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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.)
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