2021 new arrival Florida discount new arrival online

2021 new arrival Florida discount new arrival online

2021 new arrival Florida discount new arrival online

Description

Product Description

The universally-acclaimed return of the New York Times bestselling author of Fates and Furies and Matrix.

In Lauren Groff’s Floridathe hot sun shines, but a wild darkness lurks. Florida is a "superlative" book (Boston Globe), "gorgeously weird and limber" (New Yorker), "frequently funny" (San Francisco Chronicle), "brooding, inventive and often moving" (NPR Fresh Air) -- as Groff is recognized as "Florida''s unofficial poet laureate, as Joan Didion was for California." (Washington Post

"Groff''s gifts as a writer just keep soaring higher and higher.” – NPR’s Fresh Air


In her thrilling new book, Lauren Groff brings 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.

Review

Praise for Florida

"Lauren Groff is a great storyteller . . . Florida is restorative fiction for these urgent times. Its final gestures, even the most ominous . . . lean toward love and the promise of good people, in not just this state but the world."New York Times
 
"Something untameable lurks restlessly beneath the surface of this book. Groff’s incomparable prose pulsates with peril; its beauty, like that of the titular state itself, lies in a certain wild lushness."Financial Times

"These new stories are tight and contained, and they pulse with menace and feral energy."Wall Street Journal
 
"Florida is a gift to writers. . . . There is more than a little of David Lynch in Ms Groff’s Floridian landscape: exotic and bright, yet pulsing with hidden malevolence . . . Ms Groff’s writing is marvelous, her insights keen, each story a glittering, encrusted treasure hauled from the deep."The Economist

"Haunting and arresting." – New York Times Book Review

"As fine and beautifully crafted as any fiction she has written . . . . . [Groff] is one of the best writers in the United States, and her prize-winning stories reverberate long after they are read. In past years, the rare short story collection . . . has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Florida should be in the running next year." – LA Review of Books
 

"Groff throws open the windows and turns off the A/C, mosquitoes and heatstroke be damned . . . Groff’s Florida may do the same thing for its readers: surprise and menace us, fascinate and sometimes frighten us, and leave the whole world fuller than it was before." – Slate 
 
"Masterful. . . Amid the horror, wonder perseveres." Esquire  

"The gems here are like the Florida Keys: distinct islands, each beautiful in its own way. Meet a lonely runner, two lost sisters and a son growing up without his mother. Prepare to sweat, see snakes and get lost in a swamp. Groff’s depictions aren’t always pretty, but they’ll keep you turning the pages—and not just for the breeze."People Magazine

"[A] transcendent writer. . . [Florida] isn’t a short-story collection so much as an ecosystem." –The Atlantic

"[Groff] stakes her claim to being Florida''s unofficial poet laureate, as Joan Didion was for California."—Washington Post

"Superlative collection — seriously, there’s not a dud in the bunch ... Groff is an extra terrific writer, as ever...Having followed an astonishing, astonishingly accessible novel with such an outstanding, accessible collection, Groff is surely poised to topple the tiny monkeys in charge of deciding that the perceived realm of the feminine isn’t sufficiently deep." – Boston Globe

"Taken together, the stories have the feel of autobiography, although, as in a Salvador Dali painting, their emotional disclosures are encrypted in phantasmagoria . . . The sentences indigenous to Florida are gorgeously weird and limber . . ." – The New Yorker

"The landscapes in the short stories are silty, rich, sun-bleached, cold as stone. They are strong characters of their own that will not be ignored."Electric Literature
 
"Impossible to put down." Vox

"Groff’s mythic almost gothic stories about Florida and domesticity and entrapment took me right back to the Bronte sisters . . . Masterfully made." – LitHub

"You’re helpless to the power — the sheer virtuosity — of Groff’s evocative prose."Entertainment Weekly
 
"Groff is still on-brand. Her writing about relationships rarely sticks within the narrow, Updike-ian confines of domestic dysfunction, though. Even in short stories, she prefers broader canvases, and much of Florida is filled with hurricanes and other violent storms that run parallel to the personal crises she describes . . . Straightforward but moody and metaphorical — magical realism without the sparkle and sense of wonder."Los Angeles Times

"Groff’s Florida is touched by sublimity. It is an ‘Eden of beautiful things,’ glorious and decayed, attacked and altering." – The Rumpus

"[The stories] overflow with imagery so powerfully tangible that it’s hard to believe the humidity and rainstorms aren’t truly escaping from the page to touch you . . ." Chicago Review of Books
 
"Florida gives off strong vibes of magical realism, where snakes, sinkholes and panthers in hidden Florida towns replace Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Macondo with its yellow butterflies and ghosts."Palm Beach Post

"Brooding, inventive and often moving short stories . . .  In Groff''s trademark zigzagging storytelling style, revelations ricochet between pages — and sometimes even within single sentences . . . Groff, through her own acrobatic style, attests to the benefits of a firm grounding in grammar and vocabulary. Lots of things go south fast in the stories collected in Florida — like marriages, careers and the weather — but throughout, Groff''s gifts as a writer just keep soaring higher and higher."NPR Fresh Air

"Groff’s desire seems to be to show — in a frequently funny, sometimes painful and always deeply sensitive way — that women and children are often stronger than we tend to think, and that the Earth is more fragile than we usually allow ourselves to understand." – San Francisco Chronicle

"Easily the year’s best story collection . . . these indelibly vivid tales read like inoculations against cynicism." Vogue

"[The stories] take on an inexplicably cohesive form with a sad-, beautiful- and naked-ness that reverberates in the mind long after the book is shut." – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  
 
"She hasn''t lost a step since Fates And Furies . . . Groff''s language is, as always, gorgeous and precise. Her ability to map the inner contours of characters who seem to exist entirely in extremis — and, almost entirely, within a fragile shell of feigned competence and normalcy — is remarkable. Her Florida is a frightening place that bends (solely through the eyes and experiences of her characters) into a discomfortingly modern Southern Gothic tradition. Her stories — all of them — are haunted."NPR Books
 
"Slime mold, a father killed by snake venom, a mother haunted by a deadly panther, and half-feral little girls abandoned on an island—these bizarre happenings could be set only in the Sunshine State, and be written only by Groff, the Gabriel García Márquez of Gainesville. Reading as required as insect repellent in a swamp." O Magazine
 
"Groff has grasped the true grotesqueness of Florida, an ‘Eden of dangerous things’ spliced with stinking bodies, living and dead. In her hands, Florida as state and state-of-mind becomes an alembic, cohering these discrete stories as perfectly as if they were written in one sitting . . . Florida is so much, perhaps too much. Florida is just enough . . . Groff’s powers transform that glut of vitality into something startlingly precarious and, even to a forsworn Floridian like me, something startling and precious."The Millions
 
"[Florida] evinces a deep comprehension and appreciation of the wildness that reaches from the state’s swamps and forests to inform even the most developed pockets of civilization. Life cannot be tamed here, Groff suggests, and the characters . . . feel the state’s inexorable, unsettling pull. The book is no less difficult to resist."South Florida
 
"Subversive, but quietly; it captures what’s mysterious about the inevitable, what’s bizarre about the inescapable . . . these narratives of young families, divorced couples, and unconventional women vibrate with something new . . . The rains in Florida are biblical to say the least. The margins between earthen and celestial routinely dissolve . . . Florida suggest that the relationship between humans and our planet—that home none of us chose—transcends the power struggle of dominance and submission." The Paris Review
 
"Masterful . . . Groff’s writing is stripped down and honed, with few extraneous words. She experiments with form without veering into gimmick or forsaking the power of language, which she expertly wields." am New York
 
"A weird, spooky love letter to Florida, by one of Obama’s favorite writers . . . Groff’s detailed descriptions are transportive; you feel like you’re there in the dank cabin or in the eye of the hurricane . . . And don''t get us started on the snakes. Florida, man." – PureWow
 
"This collection of 11 stories . . . speak to each other not in the light of the Sunshine State, but in the shadows. Groff’s world is a dark, strange one of tempests and terrors. Her characters . . . fall into loneliness and self-ruin at each turn."Town & Country Magazine
 
"Florida mesmerizes and unnerves."Business Insider
 
"A humid closeness that makes every twist of fate and new character feel intimately familiar . . . Each tale contains Groff''s signature mixture of poetic beauty and visceral poignancy."Harper’s Bazaar
 
"As much plot and detail packed into. . .15 pages as you''ll find in many novels. . . The whole world is Florida, paradise because it’s dangerous and dangerous because it’s paradise." – Tampa Bay

"Filled with the mesmerizing, decadent language . . . the titular state looms as a setting of lush beauty and swift menace . . . Groff''s storytelling has such ferocious energy."– Star Tribune
 
"We would probably give a five-star review to Lauren Groff’s grocery list. Her language is beautiful, surprising, and always unfolding. Florida is a visceral story collection . . . told through a series of rich, layered characters . . . It’s as if you’re eavesdropping the whole time, peering in on lives vastly different from and yet so familiar to your own."– GOOP
 
"If Barack Obama found time as president to read Fates and Furies, Groff’s third novel, you can clear a weekend this summer to read her follow-up. Florida is a blistering series of short stories set in a state where calm and intensity work hand in hand." Conde Nast Traveler
 
"Groff sidesteps Miami glitter for the sticky, snake-thick subtropics, the swamps and summer heat giving birth to an electrifying array of characters and worlds." –Vanity Fair 
 
"Readers can practically feel the mosquitoes buzzing at their necks in stories Ms. Groff started writing a decade ago after moving to Florida . . . In her stories, predators bite, hurricanes destroy and nature does not forgive." –Wall Street Journal
 
"A dangerous energy, buoyed by rich and unsettling details, run through the Fates and Furies author’s new collection as her characters face down snakes, hurricanes and their own self-destructive behavior." –Time Magazine
 
"Think of the stories in Lauren Groff''s collection Florida as gems. You''ll want to revisit them over and over, and see how you''ll react to them under different circumstances, different slants of light. But on a more basic level: Each story is exquisite." –Refinery29

"Groff moves adroitly through an impressive range of lives, times, and places...The book stages an intriguing relationship between the individual and the collective." –Harper''s Magazine

"Groff fans will recognize the descriptive zest instantly. . . raw, danger-riddled, linguistically potent pieces. They unsettle their readers at every pass . . . A literary tour de force of precariousness set in a blistering place, a state shaped like a gun." –Kirkus, starred review

About the Author

Lauren Groff is the New York Times bestselling author of three novels, The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia, and Fates and Furies, and the celebrated short story collection Delicate Edible Birds. She has won the PEN/O. Henry Award, and been a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, along with several Best American Short Stories anthologies, and she was named one of Granta''s 2017 Best Young American Novelists. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and sons.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Ghosts and Empties

I have somehow become a woman who yells, and because I do not want to be a woman who yells, whose little children walk around with frozen, watchful faces, I have taken to lacing on my running shoes after dinner and going out into the twilit streets for a walk, leaving the undressing and sluicing and reading and singing and tucking in of the boys to my husband, a man who does not yell.

The neighborhood goes dark as I walk, and a second neighborhood unrolls atop the daytime one. We have few streetlights, and those I pass under make my shadow frolic; it lags behind me, gallops to my feet, gambols on ahead. The only other illumination is from the windows in the houses I pass and the moon that orders me to look up, look up! Feral cats dart underfoot, bird-of-paradise flowers poke out of the shadows, smells are exhaled into the air: oak dust, slime mold, camphor.

Northern Florida is cold in January and I walk fast for warmth but also because, though the neighborhood is antique-huge Victorian houses radiating outward into 1920s bungalows, then mid-century modern ranches at the edges-it''s imperfectly safe. There was a rape a month ago, a jogger in her fifties pulled into the azaleas; and, a week ago, a pack of loose pit bulls ran down a mother with a baby in her stroller and mauled both, though not to death. It''s not the dogs'' fault, it''s the owners'' fault! dog lovers shouted on the neighborhood email list, but those dogs were sociopaths. When the suburbs were built, in the seventies, the historic houses in the center of town were abandoned to graduate students who heated beans over Bunsen burners on the heart-pine floors and sliced apartments out of ballrooms. When neglect and humidity caused the houses to rot and droop and develop rusty scales, there was a second abandonment, to poor people, squatters. We moved here ten years ago because our house was cheap and had virgin-lumber bones, and because I decided that if I had to live in the South, with its boiled peanuts and its Spanish moss dangling like armpit hair, at least I wouldn''t barricade myself with my whiteness in a gated community. Isn''t it . . . dicey? people our parents'' age would say, grimacing, when we told them where we lived, and it took all my willpower not to say, Do you mean black, or just poor? Because it was both.

White middle-classness has since infected the neighborhood, though, and now everything is frenzied with renovation. In the past few years, the black people have mostly withdrawn. The homeless stayed for a while, because our neighborhood abuts Bo Diddley Plaza, where, until recently, churches handed out food and God, and where Occupy rolled in like a tide and claimed the right to sleep there, then grew tired of being dirty and rolled out, leaving behind a human flotsam of the homeless in sleeping bags. During our first months in the house, we hosted a homeless couple we only ever saw slinking off in the dawn: at dusk, they would silently lift off the latticework to the crawl space under our house and then sleep there, their roof our bedroom floor, and when we got up in the middle of the night, we tried to walk softly because it felt rude to step inches above the face of a dreaming person.

On my nighttime walks, the neighbors'' lives reveal themselves, the lit windows domestic aquariums. At times, I''m the silent witness to fights that look like slow-dancing without music. It is astonishing how people live, the messes they sustain, the delicious whiffs of cooking that carry to the street, the holiday decorations that slowly seep into daily decor. All January, I watched a Christmas bouquet of roses on one mantel diminish until the flowers were a blighted shrivel and the water green scum, a huge Santa on a stick still beaming merrily out of the ruins. Window after window nears, freezes with its blue fog of television light or its couple hunched over a supper of pizza, holds as I pass, then slides into the forgotten. I think of the way water gathers as it slips down an icicle''s length, pauses to build its glossy drop, becomes too fat to hang on, plummets down.

There is one mostly windowless place in the neighborhood that I love nevertheless, because it houses nuns. There used to be six nuns there, but attrition happened, as it does with very old ladies, and now there are only three kindly sisters squeaking around that immense space in their sensible shoes. A realtor friend told us that when it was built in the 1950s, a bomb shelter was lowered into the porous limestone of the backyard, and during sleepless nights, when my body is in bed but my brain is still out walking in the dark, I like to imagine the nuns in full regalia in their shelter, singing hymns and spinning on a stationary bike to keep the lightbulb sputtering on, while, aboveground, all has been blasted black, and rusted hinges rasp the wind.

Because the nights are so cold, I share the streets with few people. ThereÕs a young couple who jog at a pace slightly slower than my fast walk. I follow them, listening to their patter of wedding plans and fights with friends. Once I forgot myself and laughed at something they said and their faces owled, unnerved, back at me, then they trotted faster and took the first turn they found and I let them disappear into the black.

There''s an elegant, tall woman who walks a Great Dane the color of dryer lint; I am afraid that the woman is unwell because she walks rigidly, her face pulsing as if intermittently electrified by pain. I sometimes imagine how, should I barrel around a corner to find her slumped on the ground, I would drape her over her dog, smack his withers, and watch as he, with his great dignity, carried her home.

There is a boy of fifteen or so, tremendously fat, whose shirt is always off and who is always on the treadmill on his glassed-in porch. No matter how many times I find myself striding past his window, there he is, his footsteps pounding so hard I can hear them from two blocks away. Because all the lights are on inside the house, to him there is nothing beyond the black in the window, and I wonder if he watches his reflection the way I watch him, if he sees how with each step his stomach ripples as if it were a pond into which someone had tossed a fist-sized stone.

There''s the shy muttering homeless lady, a collector of cans, who hoists her clanging bags on the back of her bicycle and uses the old concrete blocks in front of the grander houses to mount her ride; the waft of her makes me think of the wealthy southern dames in dark silk who once used those blocks to climb into their carriages, emitting a similarly intimate feminine stink. Hygiene may have changed with time, but human bodies have not.

There''s the man who hisses nasties as he stands under the light outside a bodega with bars over its windows. I put on my don''t-fuck-with-me face, and he has yet to do more than hiss, but there is a part of me that is more than ready, that wants to use what''s building up.

Sometimes I think I see the stealthy couple who lived under our house, the particular angle of his solicitousness, his hand on her back, but when I come closer it is only a papaya tree bent over a rain barrel or two boys smoking in the bushes, turning wary as I pass.

And then there''s the therapist who every night sits at his desk in the study of his Victorian, which looks like a rotting galleon. One of his patients caught the therapist in bed with the patient''s own wife; the patient kept a loaded shotgun in his car. The wife died in coitus and the therapist survived with a bullet still in his hip, which makes him lurch when he gets up to pour himself more Scotch. There are rumors that he visits the cuckolded murderer in prison every week, though whether his motive is kindness or crowing remains shadowy, but it''s not as if motives could ever be pure. My husband and I had just moved in when the murder occurred; we were scraping rotting paint off the oak moldings in our dining room when the gunshots splattered the air, but of course we believed they were fireworks lit by the kids who lived a few houses down.

As I walk, I see strangers but also people I know. I look up in the beginning of February to see a close friend in a pink leotard in her window, stretching, but then, with a zip of understanding, I realize that she isn''t stretching, she is drying her legs, and the leotard is, in fact, her body, pinked from the hot shower. Even though I visited her in the hospital when both of her boys were born, held the newborns in my arms when they still smelled of her, saw the raw cesarean split, it isn''t until I watch her drying herself that I understand that she is a sexual being, and then the next time we speak I can''t help blushing and enduring images of her in extreme sexual positions. Mostly, however, I see the mothers I know in glimpses, bent like shepherdess crooks, scanning the floor for tiny Legos or half-chewed grapes or the people they once were, slumped in the corners.

It''s too much, it''s too much, I shout at my husband some nights when I come home, and he looks at me, afraid, this giant gentle man, and sits up in bed over his computer and says, softly, I don''t think you''ve walked it off yet, sweets, you may want to take one more loop. I go out again, furious, because the streets become more dangerous this late at night, and how dare he suggest risk like this to me, when I have proved myself vulnerable; but then again, perhaps my warm house has become more dangerous as well. During the day, while my sons are in school, I can''t stop reading about the disaster of the world, the glaciers dying like living creatures, the great Pacific trash gyre, the hundreds of unrecorded deaths of species, millennia snuffed out as if they were not precious. I read and savagely mourn, as if reading could somehow sate this hunger for grief, instead of what it does, which is fuel it.

I have mostly stopped caring where I walk, but I try to be at the Duck Pond every night when the Christmas lights, forgotten for weeks now, click off and the pond erupts, the frogs launching into their syncopated song. Our pair of black swans would shout at the frogs with their brass voices as if to shut them up, but, outnumbered, the birds would soon give up and climb the island in the center of the pond and twine their necks together to sleep. The swans had four cygnets last spring, sweet cheeping puffs that were the delight of my little boys, who tossed dog food at them every day, until one morning, while the swans were distracted by our food, one cygnet gave a choked peep, bobbed, then went down; it came up again but across the pond, in the paws of an otter that ate it in small bites, floating serenely on its back. The otter got one more cygnet before the wildlife service arrived to scoop up the remaining two, but it was later reported in the neighborhood newsletter that the tiny swan hearts had given out in fear. The parent swans floated for months, inconsolable. Perhaps this is a projection: as they are both black swans and parents, they are already prefeathered in mourning.

On Valentine''s Day, I see red and white lights flashing from afar at the nunnery and walk faster in the hope that the nuns are having a love party, a disco rager, but instead I see an ambulance drive away, and the next day my fears are confirmed; the nuns have been further diminished, to two. Withholding erotic pleasure for the glory of God seems an anachronism in our hedonistic age, and, with their frailty and the hugeness of the house they rattle around in, it has been decided that the remaining nuns must decamp. I come to watch them the night they leave, expecting a moving truck, but there are only a few leather suitcases and a box or two in the back of the nuns'' station wagon. Their wrinkled faces droop with relief as they drive off.

The cold lingers on into March. It has been a hard winter for everyone, though not as terrible as in the North, and I think of my friends and family up there with their dirty walls of snow and try to remember that the camellias and peach trees and dogwoods and oranges are all abloom here, even in the dark. I smell the jasmine potent in my hair the next morning, the way I used to smell cigarette smoke and sweat after going to a nightclub, back when I was young and could do such unthinkable things. There is a vernacular style of architecture called Cracker, which is not meant to cause offense, all porches and high ceilings; and by the middle of March, one of the oldest Cracker houses in north central Florida is being renovated. The faade is preserved, but the rest is gutted. Night by night, I see what remains of the house as daily it is stripped away, until one night the house has entirely vanished: that morning it collapsed on a worker, who survived, like Buster Keaton, by standing in the window as the structure fell. I study the hole where a humble and unremarked history stood for so long, a house that watched the town press up, then grow around it, and I think of the construction worker who walked out of the collapse unhurt, what he was imagining. I think I know. One night just before Christmas I came home late after a walk and my husband was in the bathroom and I flipped open his computer and saw what I saw there, a conversation not meant for me, a snip of flesh that was not his, and without letting him know I was in the house, I about-faced and went out again and walked until it was too cold to walk, until just before dawn, when the dew could easily have been ice.

Now, while I stand before the collapsed house, the woman with the Great Dane slides by through the dark, and I notice how aggressively pale she has become, so skinny her cheeks must touch inside her mouth, her wig askew to show a rind of scalp above the bangs. If she, in turn, notices the particular dark spike of my unrest, she says only a soft good night and her dog looks at me with a kind of human compassion, and together they move off, stately and gentle, into the black.

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4.1 out of 54.1 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It’s not you...it’s me.
Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2018
I really can understand where people would really like...enjoy this novel of short stories. Unfortunately and overall it didn’t resonate with me. The difficulty was trying to pinpoint and explain why I did not enjoy this book. It’s very well written. The... See more
I really can understand where people would really like...enjoy this novel of short stories. Unfortunately and overall it didn’t resonate with me.

The difficulty was trying to pinpoint and explain why I did not enjoy this book. It’s very well written. The imagery is exceptional. Each story has a captivating beginning that draws you in...but I’m my opinion there are no true conclusions. Not sure if that was intentional...or I just didn’t get it...or the author was simply leaving it up to the reader to imagine what happened.

I kept hoping the next story would be wonderful. Never happened...not once. I guess if I had to summarize my apathetic opinion about the book it’s just that I was looking for definitive ending to each story.

Sorry...and in “conclusion” almost like a break up line. It’s not you...it’s me.
95 people found this helpful
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KasaC
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Running through the palmettos
Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2018
During a recent visit, Lauren Groff shared that when her husband proposed moving back to his native Florida, she, appalled, made him sign a contract that they would leave in 10 years years. That was more than 12 years ago. In the intervening years, she has come to love... See more
During a recent visit, Lauren Groff shared that when her husband proposed moving back to his native Florida, she, appalled, made him sign a contract that they would leave in 10 years years. That was more than 12 years ago. In the intervening years, she has come to love the state and all its weirdness, and even gave it the top acknowledgement for this, her excellent book of short stories. She knows she is a short story writer, having entered Amherst as an aspiring poet and having the intelligence to recognize that wasn''t the path for her. She admits her forays into novels as an aberration (successful though those sidesteps may be), which explains why her stories are so rich, so immersive, and impossible to read in one gulp. They must be paced out. I''ve said in other reviews that when collections of short stories are good, they are hard work for a reader since it is like reading an entire shelf of well thought-out books, requiring more effort than say a 300 page novel.

What each story has in common here is someone in difficulty, either women or children, usually in danger from forces of nature rather than from another human being. That''s what gives these stories their originality -- the unpredictability, impersonality and power behind forces which one cannot control. There is much reference to literature that Groff holds dear (when asked, she responded that she read material she loved multiple times, e.g., she had read the first volume of Proust''s Remembrance of Time Past at least 8 times but hadn''t progressed to the other volumes), and one story delves into the personality of Guy de Maupassant. A very impressive collection from a more than impressive writer.
84 people found this helpful
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Cathryn Conroy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An Extraordinary, Emotionally Intense Collection of Stories
Reviewed in the United States on August 16, 2018
Lauren Groff is an artist. But instead of a paintbrush she uses words, and she does it with such amazing talent that those disparate syllables and sentences come together to create daring, brilliant images of Florida (and other places) in this collection of imaginative and... See more
Lauren Groff is an artist. But instead of a paintbrush she uses words, and she does it with such amazing talent that those disparate syllables and sentences come together to create daring, brilliant images of Florida (and other places) in this collection of imaginative and often heartbreaking short stories. Because of her word artistry I saw the black snakes slithering in the swampy land. I could almost touch the Spanish moss hanging from the trees in dense clusters. I feared the alligators beneath the placid, shimmering water. I scratched at nonexistent mosquito bites. I felt the force of a hurricane''s ravaging winds and dangerous, destructive floods.

Each story is about both the external and the internal. The external is the raw brutality of nature in this swampy state. The internal is the human heart—be it good or evil, happy or enraged, beautiful or ugly. This is as much a story about the human state as it is the sunshine state.

But be forewarned: Each of these stories is intense, much like little emotional explosions—so much so that I could only read one at a time and then had to close the book for a while before starting the next one. And that speaks to the power of the writing and the subsequent need for contemplation.
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JJ
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautifully Written but Too Sad and Sometimes Felt Unfinsihed
Reviewed in the United States on August 3, 2018
To start with this is an extremely well written piece. The author can really turn a beautiful phrase. The imagery is very vivid in each of the stories and you really get a sense of "place." The down side to that is that the jump from story to story is very jarring.... See more
To start with this is an extremely well written piece. The author can really turn a beautiful phrase. The imagery is very vivid in each of the stories and you really get a sense of "place." The down side to that is that the jump from story to story is very jarring. There are some unifying themes in the stories, but it takes a minute when you start the next one to figure out what''s going on. A lot of the stories were also just "middles," and felt out of context. In terms of the subject matter - it is dreary no doubt about that. There is a palpable sadness that runs through the entire book that becomes oppressive.
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Jessica Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
a cohesive and consistently stimulating collection
Reviewed in the United States on November 1, 2018
I’m not exactly a Lauren Groff evangelist, having been hit or miss with her novels, but this short story collection is DAMN GOOD. Maybe this is my preferred form for her writing. Her showy prose isn’t as distracting to me in the short story format: in fact, I... See more
I’m not exactly a Lauren Groff evangelist, having been hit or miss with her novels, but this short story collection is DAMN GOOD.

Maybe this is my preferred form for her writing. Her showy prose isn’t as distracting to me in the short story format: in fact, I kind of love it.

The narratives in this collection share some commonalities beyond just location: the characters (often women) each endure calamities both external and internal. There’s a pervasive foreboding throughout: a teetering on the edge of something dark and wild, a doomed sense of quiet desperation ready to erupt. Much like Florida itself, there are unseen dangers lurking everywhere.

For a short story collection to be so cohesive and consistently fulfilling is an achievement in and of itself. I felt melancholy turning the final page on these characters, leaving them to their rage and isolation and longing—those unsavory feelings that we all store deep within.
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Necia JG
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not for me. I think you’ll either love it or hate it, or maybe in between like me!.
Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2018
I LOVE reading all kinds of writing. Not so much this book. 11 “short stories” unfinished in my opinion. I like the way she writes....beautiful prose, prickly sentences, little mysteries for you to decider in a paragraph. These are all great beginnings to 11 books. 🤷🏼‍♀️... See more
I LOVE reading all kinds of writing. Not so much this book. 11 “short stories” unfinished in my opinion. I like the way she writes....beautiful prose, prickly sentences, little mysteries for you to decider in a paragraph. These are all great beginnings to 11 books. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Short stories need better “endings” so I wouldn’t call them short stories, I’d call them first chapters to stories. I’m 3/4 the way through and don’t think I’ll finish.
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davidjordan84
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Uncomfortably fascinating
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2018
If a non-resident of Florida were to base his or her opinion of the state on the sort of information supplied by national news media, it would be easy to assume the residents have a loose grip on propriety, civility, and even sanity. Floridians are frequently portrayed in... See more
If a non-resident of Florida were to base his or her opinion of the state on the sort of information supplied by national news media, it would be easy to assume the residents have a loose grip on propriety, civility, and even sanity. Floridians are frequently portrayed in an unflattering light, given the amount of crazy stories that make the news. If one were to use Lauren Groff''s gripping, fantastically well-written short story collection to learn what Florida is all about (unsurprisingly, every story has a connection to the state), one might assume that storms are incessant and frequently disastrous, reptiles and insects are a constant deadly menace, and the heat is driving everyone out of their minds.
I like it.
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Russell Ricard
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mind-Bending Short Stories Set in Florida
Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2018
I''m a huge fan of Lauren Groff. And her current short story collection, FLORIDA, is outstanding. This is a deep dive into Florida''s wonder and culture. Among many characters there are snakes, hurricanes, gators, and Florida''s terrain and curiosities that make for... See more
I''m a huge fan of Lauren Groff. And her current short story collection, FLORIDA, is outstanding. This is a deep dive into Florida''s wonder and culture. Among many characters there are snakes, hurricanes, gators, and Florida''s terrain and curiosities that make for interesting questions, including the effects of climate change. Chilling, haunting, mind-bending, and heartfelt. As in her other work, her prose is so exact; poetic and visceral: all kinds of feels as you read.
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Juliano Zaffino
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Exceptional short stories from the greatest American writer of her generation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2018
I had the chance to read Lauren Groff’s newest book, ‘Florida’, ahead of its publication. I opened the cover to this collection of short stories with the highest of expectations and never once did Groff let me down, though the stakes were high (what with Fates & Furies...See more
I had the chance to read Lauren Groff’s newest book, ‘Florida’, ahead of its publication. I opened the cover to this collection of short stories with the highest of expectations and never once did Groff let me down, though the stakes were high (what with Fates & Furies being my favourite novel of all time). The first story, ''Ghosts and Empties'', sets the tone perfectly: the oppressive, feral, beautiful, horrible Florida unfurling, a restlessness and fear of the future, and the pervasive and untraceable dread that permeates every story in this collection, each of its protagonists in varying but ultimately crushing ways. ''At The Round Earth''s Imagined Corners'' and ''Dogs Go Wolf'' follow children, for the most part - and they are royally betrayed by the adults in their lives, left alone to pick up the pieces. ''The Midnight Zone'', one of the collection''s most unsettling yarns, followed by ''Eyewall'' and ''For The God of Love, For The Love of God'', each in their own stead portray lives fully formed crumbling, whether momentarily when injured in an isolated cabin, or suddenly and permanently by a hurricane, or slowly and imperceptibly by time''s erosion and the gulf that grows between people. ''Salvador'', traumatic and angry and anxious and stormy, sees the worst in mankind plainly and from a perspective that resists detachment. The sinkhole that steers the next story, ''Flower Hunters'', serves as an apt representation for the reading experience, as water slowly slips through the cracks, as the foundations of calm are threatened. ''Above And Below'' is a glimpse into a life after such a sinkhole has crept up and swallowed it whole, while ''Snake Stories'', with its helplessly emotional ending, most strongly articulates the recurring theme of violence and injustices that are perpetrated against women, from Eve to the present day. Finally, ''Yport'' concludes the volume tragically and hopefully at once, bringing all the dread, the motherhood and resistance against misogyny, the chaos and uncertainty of our future, to a head: "She feels it nearing, the midnight of humanity. Their world is so full of beauty, the last terrible flash of beauty before the long darkness." And despite this, despite the social/political themes she considers (including but not limited to feminism, sexual assault, refugees, immigration, fascism, climate change, un-fulfilment and poverty), and the grave world her characters see, there is hope for the world, in the gravitational potential energy of a rock-as-meteor that may never fall. This is a rare and phenomenal book, full of Groff’s signature electric writing, easily mistaken for the divine. I read this collection slowly, savouring each story as best as I could, left bereft and full at its final page. If you buy one book to read this summer I urge you to make it this one.
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Thunder39
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Depressing!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 26, 2021
The writing is ok but sometimes it goes into so much description I''m not really sure what''s going on anymore! Whilst I recognise not all stories have a happy ending, all of the short stories in this book are very macabre, lots of disaster, rape, death, general misery etc....See more
The writing is ok but sometimes it goes into so much description I''m not really sure what''s going on anymore! Whilst I recognise not all stories have a happy ending, all of the short stories in this book are very macabre, lots of disaster, rape, death, general misery etc. Maybe this is representative of life in Florida???
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Sophia
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautifully written and enjoyable short stories
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 10, 2020
Beautifully written and enjoyable short stories. Definitely made me nostalgic of my home state. Definitely worth picking up to read.
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Hannah Hall
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great stories
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2019
Gritty and loved it.
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D. A.
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
feedback
Reviewed in Canada on July 15, 2020
In my opinion, these stories consistently display a gender bias in that almost every male character is portrayed in a highly negative light. The stories which do not do this, e.g. "Above and Below", are the ones with greatest literary merit and the most enjoyable. The other...See more
In my opinion, these stories consistently display a gender bias in that almost every male character is portrayed in a highly negative light. The stories which do not do this, e.g. "Above and Below", are the ones with greatest literary merit and the most enjoyable. The other stories portray men in a dark and negative way. Here is the evidence: "Ghosts and Empties" - husband unfaithful "At the Round..." - father abusive "Dogs go Wolf..." - mother''s boyfriend is a drug dealer who abandons children "The Midnight Zone" - Father abandons family "Eyewall" - husband unfaithful "For the God of Love..." - husband unfaithful "Snake Stories" - male rapist "Yport" - male murderer and misogynist. The two best stories in the collection, "Above and Below" and "Flower Hunters" do not have this element. At what point does an anti-male sentiment become gender bias?
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