☉ [PDF / Epub] ☆ Arcadia By Lauren Groff ❤ – Altobook.co

Arcadia pdf Arcadia, ebook Arcadia, epub Arcadia, doc Arcadia, e-pub Arcadia, Arcadia 40823c758d2 In The Fields And Forests Of Western New York State In The Late S, Several Dozen Idealists Set Out To Live Off The Land, Founding What Becomes A Famous Commune Centered On The Grounds Of A Decaying Mansion Called Arcadia House Arcadia Follows This Lyrical, Rollicking, Tragic, And Exquisite Utopian Dream From Its Hopeful Start Through Its Heyday And After The Story Is Told From The Point Of View Of Bit, A Fascinating Character And The First Child Born In Arcadia


10 thoughts on “Arcadia

  1. says:

    i had reservations about this book because, well, look at that cover fucking hippies.but i should have known that lauren groff would write a spectacular book even if it was about fucking hippies i have read all three of her books now, and while monsters of templeton is still far and away the winner in the books by lauren groff award ceremonies, this one is very very good.this novel focuses on bit, a child born into a hippie commune, and checks in with him during four periods in his life when he is born, he is just a tiny little thing she wrapped you around and around with a thick wool scarf and went to the grocer s and weighed you you were three pounds, exactly the size of an itty bitty butternut squash.hence, bit.bit is initially believed by many members of the community to be defective because of his size and because he doesn t speak for several years.when he is six He wakes three times per night, desolate for his mother At last, he writes a note to Sweetie He labors over it with a red pencil.Im to little it says I have to sleep with Abe and Hannah.When he hands it to Sweetie, she goes speechless You can read she says.Sweetie gives the note to Hannah, whose lips form an O.Oh, Bit, you can write she says She kneels to his height and kisses him.but bit is not unintelligent, he is just watching he watches a man die, he watches his mother slip into her winter depressions, he watches the community in its triumphs and failures and through his eyes, there is so much beauty the story is told in brief episodes that build upon each other to give a sense of how this particular dynamic operates there is an undercurrent of what will eventually break the utopia running throughout,its gentle hypocrisies and conflicting personalities, but through bit s eyes, we see a loving extended family, who work together for a common purpose, where children run wild and free, and nothing is shocking as much as i disdain the hippie lifestyle, it becomes truly beautiful in her descriptions human lives stripped down to the essentials bit is a character filled with love and wonder, who is shaped by the hippie ideals into not a sex and drug crazed stereotype, but a loving caregiver who wants to protect these fragile people he sees around him.the second part is about the breaking up of the community, and bit s life in the real world the beginning of this segment shows just how a project like this can get out of control as its numbers grow, and under the leadership of a man with messianic leanings, everything begins to break down the ideology that once held the community together weakens as newer members join up for the free love and drugs, there is resentment about the distribution of labor, and too many mouths to feed it gets ugly pretty quickly, and eventually, the authorities descend and everyone has to go their separate ways, even helle, the girl bit loves and hates, is disappointed in and excited by in equal measure What Bit hated most in all the Outside world, hated with an irrational, puking hatred, was the goldfish in the pet store a street away, its endless dull slide around the glass When he passed the store on his way to school, he crossed the street He was afraid of himself, of how badly he wanted to smash his fist through the window, to cradle the fish in his bloody hands and carry it down to the river There he would dip it to the surface and free it into the terrible cold water It might have been swallowed in a second, a sudden jagged mouth out of the black but at least that second it would feel on its body a living sweetness, a water that it hadn t dirtied with its own dying body.bit is still consumed with his need to protect those around him, and has really only traded one fishbowl for another his mother is still sad, his father has suffered an accident, and his upbringing has made him different from other kids he turns to photography, another way of watching and capturing what he sees, and retreats into silence once .i don t want to say much about the third and fourth parts of the story, because it would give too much away about the characters and where they find themselves but yes, finding themselves is a pretty major theme there are some really heartbreaking and beautiful scenes, one of which involves bit and helle, where she explains to bit just how much he missed when he was supposedly watching how his perception of his early life is flawed view spoiler One night, watching the long angle of Helle under the tented sheet, he described a tight, beautiful community, filled with people he loved like family, living closely and relying on one another, a world with music and stories and thought and joy, of earthy happiness He realized as he spoke that it sounded like Arcadia and laughed as he said so Helle s voice, so distant, when she said You re not remembering right Your memory s doing some kind of crazy gymnastic routine to get happy out of our childhood What Bit said, feeling a creeping sickness in him Oh, Bit I can t believe you don t remember It was cold, Helle said We were never warm We never had enough to eat We never had enough clothes I had to wake up every single night to someone fucking someone in the Pink Piper Everywhere I was smelled like spunk Handy let me drink the acid Slap Apple when i was like five What kind of hallucinations does a five year old have For two months, I saw flames coming out of my mother s mouth every time she talked We were like guests at the Mad Hatter s table, but didn t even know the world was flipped around hide spoiler


  2. says:

    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 is the cold, self destructive Helle, the daughter of the cult s founder and lead inspiration If this novel has a weakness it s maybe the relationships They all veer dangerously towards idealisation or exaggeration, whether it s Bit s unrelenting love in with his mother or his passive devotion to the narcissistic self serving Helle Bit is at times a bit of a wimp You want to shake him out of his benevolent, almost masochistic passivity I also never quite understood why Groff made Bit so short he s barely five feet it made Groff s constant claim that he was attractive to women, in particular thin willowy girls, implausible as a dynamic If she made him short as a metaphor for his stunted growth it wasn t worth sacrificing plausibility in his relationships for such a lame metaphor As was the case with Fates and Furies, the prose is a constant delight Bit becomes a photographer and Groff s prose is masterful at drawing out the poetry from visual moments The strong wind rises against the trees so they bend like girls washing their hair The sun and wind pour into the sheets on the line There are bodies in the billowing, forms created and lost in a breath It s also super clever how Groff s descriptions of the early days in Arcadia call to mind the atmosphere of many dystopian novels and prepare you as a reader for the real dystopian scenario which arrives late in the novel when a pandemic arrives, threatening to wipe out the old order of civilisation On the whole I adored this and now look forward to my next Groff The Monsters of Templeton.


  3. says:

    Am I just the buzzkill who wouldn t drop acid at the party Did someone shut off the volcano that fueled my lava lamp How do I explain my huge disappointment in this book I, who loved The Monsters of Templeton and Delicate Edible Birds, found Arcadia unreadable Why The story is slave to the style Groff uses a floaty, present tense, semi random flow that very nearly resembles a plot, but not quite Everything is seen through the eyes of Bit, a little boy who somehow doesn t seem to be all there upstairs There s no appreciable dialogue or character development The whole thing has a sort of dreamlike quality, which I suppose will appeal to some readers This is a weird book that a lot of people will like It breaks my heart to give it one star because I like Lauren Groff But I hated the book Resented it, too, because I was so looking forward to it Sorry folks Buzzkill over.


  4. says:

    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 and her recent miscarriage 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 commune is strictly vegan They admit newcomers who accept the groups philosophy plus runaways and trippies people coming off drugs Fast forward to Bit at 14, he has his best friend Helle and has discovered photography via his beloved Lecia camera sent to him by Hannah s mother On their annual Cockaigne Day, a day of celebration, food, music and dance, quite a few members partake of the marijuana which is harvested and freely available The commune is open for outsiders to come and join in the celebrating A day few of them will forget someone brings acid, hostilities surface between the oldies and some newcomers, Bit witnesses Helle tripping and being sexually abused by a few of the outsiders A fight breaks out, one of the outsiders is accidentally killed and Handy, Arcadia s leader, and many others are arrested The outside world suddenly feels very close and threatening.Fast forward to Bit at 35, with his parents, he has long left Arcadia to live in the outside world and he and Helle have married He s teaching photography at a university and he and Helle have a 3 year old daughter, Grete One day Helle goes out for a walk and simply does not come back..Fast forward to Bit at 50.The Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo says Arcadia is one of the most moving and satisfying novels I ve read in a long time. I didn t expect to be as involved with these characters as I found myself Apart from disliking that Groff, for whatever reason, decided not to use quotation marks to signify speech, I found this an intensely absorbing book She uses some beautiful turns of phrase, her imagery is particularly credible and she has the gift of drawing you deep inside her character s lives Groff had me baking bread and feeling tired and hungry at Ersatz Arcadia, smoking weed and dancing on Cockaigne Day, missing and searching for Helle, returning to Arcadia to care for Hannah as ALS ravages her body and finally feeling as if my life has come full circle No matter that by page 15 I hands down knew I could never live on a commune, I really enjoyed reading this novel I recommend stepping aside from all your techno gear, get off your mobile phone, turn off your laptop, and come and spend some time with a group of people who thought they had a better way of living life Highly Recommended 4.5


  5. says:

    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 sometimes too much for Bit, too full of terror and beauty Every day he finds himself squeezed under a new astonishment The universe pulses outward at impossible speeds.


  6. says:

    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 residents of a growing commune, Arcadia, in upstate New York Arcadia takes shape in the early 1970 s shortly after Bit s birth as a scattered collection of musicians, hippies, romantics, runaways and recovering drug addicts move from a hovel of tents, shacks and buses into a dilapidated mansion There they create a home, a life sustained by communal work, education, friendship, music, sex and drugs Bit is raised to adolescence in this agrarian Utopia, separated from the hazards of the world which include sugar, animal by products, television and currency , surrounded by the constancy of his parents, Abe and Hannah, and by a community that protects and embraces this quiet and keen observer It seems to me that residents of a commune choose the most child like way of life, striving to accept the world on its terms, trusting in the willingness of their fellow residents to work and play together in harmony Yet, children are also selfish creatures, who cooperate and share only when it is in their best interest The residents of Arcadia play at leaderless democracy, but into the void between communal decision making and anarchy, steps the charismatic father figure Handy and his Scandinavian goddess wife Astrid Even those who openly resist his authority, including Bit s parents, seek his approval Handy creates Arcadia in his own image, yet follows none of his own rules, becoming the serpent that brings Eden to the point of collapse Groff s language and syntax are intoxicating She writes in lush and languid tones, as Bit rotates through years harmonious and troubled At times the scenes are heavy with malaise, as Bit witnesses the grind of his mother s midwinter depression At times they are as pointed as a young girl s hipbones, as she exposes her characters to brutality and desperation And at times they are hushed and soft, as we watch a man and his daughter give comfort to a loved one during her final days Groff offers us Bit s perspective in third person present tense, which allows us to experience Arcadia in real time, to be as present as the characters, to exist within a child s mind yet to remain detached observers.Bit s story continues into his adolescence, which is set against the Reagan years of the Cold War and rising American prosperity The story ends in a future most of us can see if we squint and tilt our heads just so Bit is now a father of a teenager and returns to the site of the old commune to care for his dying mother The world is in quarantine, retreating from a deadly flu flung out from Southeast Asia Bit s life moves from Utopia to Armageddon But when Bit returns to the place where his life began, he is able to recapture the spirit of hope of its best times and set free the bitter demons of its worst Through the grace of Groff s rich prose, the reader moves in bittersweet concert with Bit and with the dream that is Arcadia.


  7. says:

    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 main element that didn t work well for me, though, is Bit s passive obsession, starting when he is a teen and lasting until he is a middle aged man, with the cold, pale Helle.Bit s realization about which community has replaced Arcadia was my favorite passage and it still has me thinking, something I love when I get it.


  8. says:

    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 shouting from the rooftops Read this book Postscript 1 21 13 Even now, almost a week since I finished this book, I find myself thinking about the characters in this book I imagine they will always be with me.


  9. says:

    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, reality is gritty and boring I didn t dislike the adult Bit, a photography professor and single Dad struggling with loneliness in the Big City NYC , but the themes are a bit trite single Dad struggling with loneliness in the Big City and there s no magic, literally or stylistically The final section for some unaccountable reason takes place in the near future and is set against a backdrop of a serious but not apocalyptic worldwide epidemic What The entry of speculative fiction is jarring and makes no metaphoric contribution to Bit s dealing with mid life issues decline of parents, rediscovery of love beyond that supplied by a setting in our current day Overall, read the first half or two thirds of the book for its beauty and original setting The rest reads like an epilogue, so if you re curious about the fate of the characters, finish the novel Know, however, that when the commune disintegrates, the 60s are truly over.


  10. says:

    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 bring to the table in reflecting on his past and present experiences that shaped his attitudes toward family, community, freedom and conformity, and the striving for perfection in a very flawed world The founders of the fictional commune of Arcadia reclaim an abandoned estate in upstate New York and rehabilitate the mansion on the grounds with the goal of becoming a largely self sufficient, off the grid social experiment They are trying to get back to the land, reject notions of corporate capitalism and the corruption it breeds, and create a better world A classroom discussion led by Bit s father Abe references both George Eliot and Milton in Paradise Lost as the children discuss the ways civilization can be better if we just believe, that we are doing good by trying to do good Abe points out that both writers back up the idea that desiring change is a powerful way of making change that change unfolds from this desire, but while intention is important, so is the struggle to act on good intentions in a way that was not happening in Arcadia s present reality Even after it becomes clear that things are not right in this supposed utopia, that there is a snake in the Garden and human nature, with its inevitable self interest, will always be a factor, there is an exploration through the story of the boundaries of idealism and reality, the clash between them, and the value of the pursuit itself Arcadia is not at all an endorsement of the communal lifestyle, but throughout the book there seems to be a celebration of that part of the human spirit that desires and works toward positive change, the notion that it is the relentless pursuit toward improvement despite all odds that defines the best in us So no matter how far short we fall, you still gotta try The child Bit is raised in an environment where the impossible goal was a community of perfect purity and caring, equity and harmony As an adult Bit struggles with loss and heartache out in the real world, in New York City, where he has become a photographer and professor, trying to raise his daughter alone His nostalgia for Arcadia makes him yearn for the people, the interconnection, everyone relying on everyone else, the closeness He still wishes for a sense of community which, since the demise of small town America and experiments like Arcadia, can only be found in a city millions of people breathing the same air And yet he recognizes the tenuous nature of all human interactions He stops into a diner alone one Thanksgiving night and observes the scene When people come in, he tries to guess who they are .They sit here in the darkness, trusting That the coffee will be hot and unpoisoned That no raging madman will come in with a gun or a bomb It leaves him breathless at times, how much faith people put in one another So fragile, the social contract we will all stand by the rules, move with care and gentleness, invest in the infrastructure, agree with the penalties of failure That this man driving his truck down the street won t, on a whim, angle into the plate glass and end things That the president won t let his hand hover the red button and, in a moment of rage or weakness, explode the world The invisible tissue of civilization so thin, so easily rendable It s a miracle that it exists at all Throughout years of loss and heartbreak for Bit and some of the last third of the book is very, very sad he never stops believing in the value of pursuing a better world, of finding solace in the beauty that exists to mitigate the sorrow, or in love as he dotes on his adored daughter Grete There is a great passage on page 212 when Bit and Grete share lists of their favorite things The sharpness of radishes on the middle of the tongue A hot shower after a cold day Abe s funny little knock knees Grape cough syrup that reminded me of Woody Allen s why is life worth living monologue in Manhattan And in the midst of grief, loss and trouble, when Bit finds some long forgotten and undeveloped film in Abe s desk, even though the images might be ruined, he knew the distortion of age could make for the unexpected, the sublime He wanted to sing How perverse, the possibility of beauty, unearthed when he least expected it That there could be such surprises left in the world He goes out into the sunlight, something softening and settling within him.


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