Florida

Lauren Groff
Storms, snakes, sinkholes, and secrets: In Lauren Groff’s Florida, the hot sun shines, but a wild darkness lurks.  The New York Times-bestselling author of Fates and Furies returns, bringing the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild—a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. A family retreat can be derailed by a prowling panther, or by a sexual secret. Among those navigating this place are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple, a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character—a steely and conflicted wife and mother.  The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida—its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind—becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. Groff transports the reader, then jolts us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty, as she writes about loneliness, rage, family, and the passage of time. With shocking accuracy and effect, she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury—the moments that make us alive. Startling, precise, and affecting, Florida is a magnificent achievement.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2019-02-25

Just not my cup of tea. There was maybe one story that I actually liked (the one where everyone is cheating on everyone else and the kid's a little weirdo hitting on the babysitter), one story with a lot of cutting lines that really spoke to me, and otherwise some sentences that I would snap for. Everything else I thought was very pretentious and trying way too hard and not written that elegantly. Also, this doesn't align with the Florida I have witnessed since moving here 1.5 months ago (admittedly, it's south Florida, but this is what you get when you name a book Florida). 


Another meh foray into literary fiction for me.

Reviewed: 2018-07-30

Before going to bed I like to read little works: short stories, poetry, essays, letters and diaries. This is not a book to read before bed. The stories are well written, but they can be brutal and very difficult to read, and that's not taking in to account the snakes. So many snakes. The stories all focus on people in or from Florida and there is a brutality to the stories. Finishing the collection I didn't feel that I'd read anything similar to this work, except perhaps The Shell Collector from Anthony Doer. Groff is perhaps one of the finest American short story authors.

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