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Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD)
Wanted to know more
The only character I felt any connection to was Bit. Perhaps that was intentional, but the other characters ran together for me. Also, the different sections were so disconnected, with no real sense of how the characters got from point A to point B to point C. Again, this might be intentional, given this line: "What they found moving, they told him later, were the blanks between the frames, the leaps that happened invisibly between the then and the now." (This refers to portraits in an art exhibit.) I just couldn't get past the fact that I wanted to know more about what was in those blanks.
Patricia F. (Stony Brook, New York)
This type of novel is not one which I usually read. I requested a copy as I was (and am) a huge fan of The Monsters of Templeton. (I have history with that area which may have further endeared me to the story.) Having loved her previous book, I approached Arcadia with great anticipation. The story of Bit and the family in the commune reads as both true and imagined. I found the writing beautiful, unexpected and lyrical. The language paints a picture for the story. I was drawn to Bit, who didn't speak as a young child, was small, and appeared to march to a different drummer.
Jeff M. (Morris Plains, NJ)
Among a few concerns with the story, I was less than enthralled by the character of Handy. I felt him to be weak and annoying. He was supposed to be the leader of this commune whose inhabitants were largely left to fend for themselves, and in my opinion, did anything but lead. While the writing was indeed lyrical and poetic, I have to say the lack of quotation marks was problematic for me, as a reader.
An interesting read, but no Monsters of Templeton.
This book has received very positive pre-publication reviews (e.g., Publishers Weekly) and the subject (60s, etc.) was appealing to me. However, despite really trying, I personally couldn't get into the story nor did the characters particularly interest me. It was a tough read and not a book I would be inclined to recommend.
Helen S. (Palm Desert, CA)
The author used words that opened the mind into creating the location of the story and its characters. Also, brought vividly alive were the conditions of the people and the surrounding areas. The author evolved the story from rebellion to romance. Very believable. Living the words in the book brought back many incidents transpiring across the United States during the time covered.
Catherine H. (Nashua, NH)
Like a poetry book..
The romance brought into the novel was ever present and captivating. Very believable. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
I read Miss Groff “The monsters of Templeton”, book full of promises but missing “something”. “Arcadia” did not disappoint me. The style is poetic but yet easy to read. I wanted Bit’s story to go on. It is a very moving and very sad story, it does not really end with the traditional “and they lived happily ever after” but still with a feeling of hope.
Beth H. (New Windsor, IL)
"Arcadia" is a worth-while read
As a contemporary fairy tale, "Arcadia" is beautifully written, imaginative, and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the character of Bit, who is portrayed as an idealistic old soul, and I appreciated his efforts to find comfort and peace in a tragic world that is deeply flawed and at times heartbreaking. Although there were parts of this slow-paced novel that seemed over-ambitious and perhaps somewhat contrived, it is a lovely book overall and I would definitely recommend it.
Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
I was a young married woman with a family in the 60's when communes, "free love" and drugs became the "thing" to do. I think, perhaps, that is one reason why I did not much enjoy Arcadia. I must admit that Gross's prose is quite excellent but it wasn't enough for me.
John W. (Clayton, Missouri)
Good, but Not Great Effort
I loved Groff's first novel, Monsters of Templeton, so I was excited at the opportunity to reading an advanced copy of Arcadia. While I wasn’t totally disappointed it pales in comparison to her previous book. It doesn’t have a lot of action and is an introspective look at Bit’s life. I also did not like the use the constant present tense used in narration. I did enjoy her descriptions of the community. crazy hippie commune set in the late 1960s and located in Central New York. I felt less connected to and/or interested in Bit.