✓ Arcadia õ Download by ✓ Lauren Groff There were parts of Arcadia I liked very much, especially the language and themes, but overall, I found it uneven The first part, particularly, was a bit tough to get through, an overlong history of the commune Arcadia, told in the voice of a child whose parents helped found it under the leadership of a sketchy character named Handy The fact there was little conflict in this first half of the book, along with the narrator s voice, describing much but perceiving little, made this section less compelling But it did pick up Once it got rolling, I liked the later parts of it quite a bit Groff s outstanding facility with language is apparent throughout, lush and lyrical with original imagery that sometimes just stopped me in my tracks The writing was top notch and was put to better purpose in the second half, when the adolescent and grown up narrator Bit could Your view of this book is likely to turn on two things 1 whether you find the mystical and deeply sensitive hippie child protagonist Bit a credible character, one worth spending 289 pages with and 2 how much of Lauren Goff s vivid prose style you can stomach Here s a good test Try these four passages below they nicely encapsulate Bit s musing mind If they intrigue you, join the crowds of ecstatic reviewers If their windy phoniness makes you retch, then don t bother The women washed clothes and linens in the frigid river, beating wet fabric against the rocks In the last light, shadows grew from their knees and the current sparked with suds All day the secret icicle sits inside him, his own thing, a blade of cold, and it makes Bit feel brave to think of it the kid ate an icicle He smells the bread of his mother, feels the wind carrying the cold The world is In The Fields Of Western New York State In The S, A Few Dozen Idealists Set Out To Live Off The Land, Founding A Commune Centered On The Grounds Of A Decaying Mansion Called Arcadia House Arcadia Follows This Romantic Utopian Dream From Its Hopeful Start Through Its Heyday Arcadia S Inhabitants Include Handy, The Charismatic Leader His Wife, Astrid, A Midwife Abe, A Master Carpenter Hannah, A Baker And Historian And Abe And Hannah S Only Child, Bit While Arcadia Rises And Falls, Bit, Too, Ages And Changes He Falls In Love With Helle, Handy S Lovely, Troubled Daughter And Eventually He Must Face The World Beyond Arcadia In Arcadia, Groff Displays Her Literary Gifts To Stunning Effect Our narrator is Ridley Stoner Bit or Little Bit as he is known, who is born to Hannah and Abe in their car as they are travelling with a group of idealists to Arcadia House Arcadia House is the derelict mansion and it s surrounding fields, pastures and river which has been bequeathed to one of the group Ridley was premature and weighed 3lbs hence the name Bit Arcadia whose vision is to live with the land, not on land , will be a true commune you pool your resources, your goods, your food, your talents and everybody shares everything including their bodies Marriage is defunct and new couples are formed although Hannah and Abe choose to stay together Thomas Cole s interpretation of The Arcadian or Pastoral StateThe story opens with Bit at age 3 when Hannah is suffering from a type of seasonal depression an 3.
75This novel floats through the air and over the earth in three discrete sections past present future paradise expulsion return , all filtered through the senses of the sensitive Bit, all cohering in unsentimental, muted tones Though I enjoyed Groff s first novel, The Monsters of Templeton, which, to her credit, is very different from this, though both have a powerful sense of place , I put off reading this, her second, because I thought I wouldn t be interested in the setting of a hippie commune during the late 60s early 70s But that is the time and place of only the first section, and I ended up enthralled with it anyway plus, the novel is, of course, about much .
The language is gorgeous the descriptions of people, places, everything, are unique and integral and after putting the book down, I d feel drawn back to it, until about halfway through when a few things felt repetitive The Lauren Groff s lovely and poignant Arcadia is a novel of sublime sensuality It is redolent of the ripe, husky scent of pot and unwashed bodies, the strumming of guitars and gasps of lovemaking, the taste of warm blackberries plucked from the bush and popped into the mouth, the glow of naked flesh in moonlight, the feel of a mother s soft, full breast, of a father s muscled, callused hands The key to the novel s earthy nature is its narrator, Bit, who begins his story at the age of five Children are the most sensual of human beings they live in the moment, using all their senses in equal measure, without discernment, complete in their physical selves and open to the world as it unfolds Bit is one of several dozen re Oh what a fine novel this is, one of the few I feel is worthy of the 5 star rating This is a book that leaves you sad because it has ended, but also happy because you have read it and got to know Bit, his mother Hannah, and his father Abe, whom I wish could be real people who are greatly admired friends of mine living their lives of clarity and substance somewhere in the wilds of upstate New York, not so far from me.
This is a finely crafted, exquisitely written, and particularly interesting novel, especially to those of us of a certain age who grew up among idealistic people searching for a better and peaceful life, people known then as hippies People who, like many of the characters in this book, may have found that the dreamed for utopia isn t always much of a utopia Lauren Groff s literary gifts are evident in this book and the pleasure of them is all ours I am s
The first two quarters of this book were beautifully rendered The first, told from the point of view of the naive yet sensitive and often frightened five year old, Bit, describes his growing up in the eponymous hippie commune Despite apparent flaws and personal trauma, it is an idyllic childhood, and this section is the novel s heart as well as Bit s sustenance as he moves through life The second part describes, through the adolescent Bit s eyes, the decline and fall of Arcadia, pressured by inner and outer politics personality conflicts with the charismatic leader generational disputes the disintegration of 60s ideals into hedonism the War on Drugs in Reagan s America This section is also poetic, astute and filled with insights into human nature and teenage longing.
The novel goes down hill from there, however Like life outside the commune, Arcadia takes us from an enactment of utopia to the dawning of a dystopian nightmare in the span of its 280 pages It focuses on Bit, the first child born into a 1960s hippy commune which begins with only a few charismatic acolytes and ends with thousands We see Arcadia through his eyes, and he in turn sees it through the filter of Grimm s fairy stories, the only book he has access to as a child Groff does a really good job of showing us the world through a child s sensibility the wonder and the terror alternating in equal measure It isn t however until cracks start appearing in Arcadia and the inevitable expulsion becomes imminent that the book sparks into full life Arcadia feels like a book with the pages ripped out, the cover loose in Bit s hand From about pg 70 I was utterly engrossed Bit s love interest in the novel i