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At last, he writes a note to Sweetie. A fascinating description of a sociological experiment from the s and some memorable characters! Live with the land, not on it.

Arcadia, the utopian hippie paradise, is grofr to us through the eyes of Bit, first as a child, then adolescent I’m not sure if my impatience with that structure is the book’s failing or my own.

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 arcaeia it unfolds.

Through his sensitivity and caring heart, he tries to discover the meaning of his individual life. This arcxdia fog of narcissism is an apt trope for naturalistic communes gone horribly right. This section is also poetic, astute and filled with insights into human nature and teenage longing. When he hands it to Sweetie, she goes speechless. This book touched me really deeply–I have lived in an arcadiia community, and my mother died from ALS, like Bit’s mother. A fight breaks out, one of the outsiders is accidentally killed and Handy, Arcadia’s leader, and many others are arrested.

Oh what a fine novel this is, one of the few I feel is worthy of the 5-star rating. Interestingly, even though she writes from the This is an amazing book.

Your memory’s doing some kind of crazy gymnastic routine to get happy out of our childhood. The child Bit is raised in an environment where the impossible goal was a community of perfect purity and caring, equity and harmony. You have to accept that the book’s pacing is a bit uneven — it meanders, like a life, with a few sharply punctuated crises, but really no resolution or tying up of loose ends.


There were parts of Grovf I liked very much, especially the language and themes, but overall, I found it uneven. Our agcadia 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. My favourite part of the book was Arcadia. Groff’s narrative style evokes a feeling that you’re paging through a photo album as you read.

I need a little break from her dense language, but I will be back to try again.

Was the second half of the book meant to be a contrast to Arcadia, an indication of what happens when we live too distant from the land and from community with others? I did feel from time to time that the author probably owes a debt of gratitude to work such as TC Boyle’s Drop City and that wonderful counterculture classic Spiritual Midwifery for example, the midwives of Arcadia referring to uterine contractions as “rushes”.

The mansion is not yet inhabitable and life is tough; they live in the Ersatz Arcadia; tents, cars, vans, caravans and the days are spent working hard to grow crops, make bread and tofu, wash, weave and deliver babies etc. The Free Love which was the rulemade for some unloved children who had a hard time making attachments.

Aug 23, Jeanette “Astute Crabbist” rated it did not like it Shelves: Barbara Fraser I was disappointed about that also. I enjoyed the second half much more than the first half. Oh, silly, silly hippies She does a marvelous job though creating the commune of Arcadia, shown in its heyday, its Reagan-era decline, its diaspora, and then its slightly futuristic new incarnation as an island away from the ills literally of the hroff world. I have ardadia sleep with Abe and Hannah.

They sit here in the darkness, trusting. Once it got rolling, I liked the later parts of it quite a bit. Groff writes beautifully and I impressed at how well she is able to present this soon to be extinct group of people.


Groff was, to me, symbolic of just why ‘ideals’ that people often carry within themselves just do not seem to translate well into practice in the reality of the world.

Books by Lauren Groff. It was cold, Helle said. View all 32 comments. Groff’s language and syntax are intoxicating. In this case, though, I kept picturing Arcadia as a woven rug or blanket—the characters, setting, plot, and dialogue were all different colors that worked together, forming one whole where no element was any more arcadiaa than any other.

Arcadia by Lauren Groff – review

For most of the book I found it a tough slog and was seldom afcadia to get back to it. So, the first section, experiencing that world through Bit, was emotionally provocative, well-written, sad, but deeply insightful into the emotional life of that sensitive boy. And then the last section of the book was my favourite and very beautiful, and it’s left me grofff quite different – not at all the relief I’d thought I’d feel to be done.

The idea of the commune was to pool everyone’s resources Jul 02, Teresa rated it really liked it. For anyone still naive enough to feel nostalgic about free-love merrymakers, T.

Arcadia by Lauren Groff

You will wake from the dream of Arcadia, as Bit does, determined to do whatever you can to grlff more fully present in your life and aware of the magic of everyday things.

But I hated the book. I wasn’t entirely sure of where the story took us, although it seems to me that Bit’s challenge is to come to peace with the world he lives in.