Page 3 of 4 Book Reviews Ms. Groff has taken a quaint, easily caricatured community and given it true universality, not just the knee-jerk kind that Arcadian platitudes espoused. Even more unexpectedly, she has expanded this period piece so that it stretches from to , coaxing forth a remarkable amount of suspense from the way her characters change over time. And a book that might have been small, dated and insular winds up feeling timeless and vast. Arcadia wends a harrowing path back to a fragile, lovely place you can believe in.
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Reader Reviews Sally G. This is one of those rare books in which the writer hypnotizes you. I had a hard time getting through this book as I could only read a few pages at a time. Not being a physiologist, I can only wonder why. I think it was too rich for my mind to handle in large doses. The story starts with a hippie commune in Arcadia, New York, built on the idealist premise that all human being are equal with the same work ethic.
Then the freeloaders and the king pin Handy erode the system. This story we hear through a sensitive Childs Bit brain as a toddler on through the middle age of 55years old and a photographer in the City.
We only know what his brain tends to tell and therefore no quotation marks are used. With the writing of Lauren Groff we are transported to the world of beautiful phrases and thoughts. Marjorie A. Gainesville, Florida Steping Into Another World This book enabled me to enter a world I had imagined for myself but never acted on - living as a hippie on a commune.
Life in Arcadia sublime and awful; the characters are multidimensional and believable; and the ending is satisfying leaving me wanting more. NeNe Totally absorbing! I loved this story and grew to love most of the characters. When the book was finished, I felt as though very dear friends had moved far away and that I would miss them greatly.
I was moved by the beauty of the prose, often to tears. I will want to read this book again. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys character development and learning about life experienced in circumstances different than those most of us have known. Lora O. Antioch, CA Arcadia - Best Book read in This book follows the story of Ridley Stone "Bit", the first child born in Arcadia, a commune founded by his parents and other vividly drawn, quirky, idealists.
Arcadia was a very flawed and imperfect place despite the efforts of the utopians who created it, but the values Bit grew up with caused him to become an intelligent, gentle, compassionate artist who finds a way to live with grace and sensitivity in a world that becomes increasingly dark, scary and threatening. I was moved by the tragedies and losses but felt uplifted by the kindness and connections of the characters.
I truly enjoyed every minute of this luminous, offbeat and lovely book. If it had been published earlier, it would have been my holiday gift to my closest friends. Judy K. In Arcadia, she has found her true voice.
For me, and possibly anyone involved in hippie culture in the 60s and 70s, this is a moving story. Through Bit, born and raised on a commune, the emotional and developmental results of living outside mainstream American life are brought to full realization. Yes, Bit was damaged in certain ways but he retained the values he was taught. His struggle to assimilate in the "real world" feels very true. Idealism always leads to sorrow but at least it contains ideals. The writing is beautiful, in fact astounding.
Annie P. Murrells Inlet, SC Arcadia, by Lauren Groff When I first began reading this book, my feeling was that the author was spending entirely too much time on the little boy Bit. As I continued to read, it dawned on me that the reason for loitering in his early childhood was to give the reader a feeling of what it was like to live in a commune, the people, the general living conditions, the food, the beliefs and who was in charge of all the decisions, if anyone.
Everything in his early childhood gave Bit the outlook on his entire life and how he was able or not to cope with the outside world. His family was first in his life, but he took on many people, relatives by blood or marriage, or Arcadia. The only ones we ever hear of are the addicts and the addled. Very little is told of the people who lived off the fruits of the earth, never ate meat or killed another being, and accepted a very different version of truth and religion, adjusting it to meet their needs.
At the end, I loved this book, and wanted it to keep going. I wanted to find out more about Bit and his daughter. I missed Hannah but admired Bit for his devotion. Thank you, Ms. Groff, for a lovely, unusual and fulfilling story. I will look forward to another book in the near future.
Throughout the book, Bit loves and loses, but rarely are those moments distinct from one another. Arcadia is a story about both the ugly side of wonderful and the beautiful side of terrible. Following a one-page prologue in which the close third-person protagonist narrates from in utero, the rest of Arcadia is broken up into four parts, each of which consist of several episodes ranging in length from one paragraph to several pages separated by white space. Eventually tragedy pulls the community apart. Either he is impossibly aware or the facts with which he presents the reader do not reflect reality.
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