Arcadia (Anglais) Relié – 5 avril 2012
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|Relié, 5 avril 2012||
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"Part Stone Diaries, part Lord of the Flies, part something out of a Shakespearean tragedy, Lauren Groff's Arcadia is so uniquely absorbing that you finish it as if waking from a dream. Groff is one of our most talented writers, and Arcadia one of the most revelatory, magical and ambitious novels I've read in years." (Kate Walbert, author of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 best books of the year, the New York Times bestselling novel A Short History of Women)
"'Arcadia swings gently between moments of pure happiness and exquisitely described melancholy ... beautiful prose ... Arcadia the commune may have been an experiment in a new way of living but Arcadia the book explores several lifestyles, without the need for the reader to blister their hands weeding a soy patch. Arcadia is smart, beautiful, rooted in an earthy and glorious location. Read it and consider your place in the world and the people you love, but mostly read it for its beauty. Groff's beautifully written Arcadia paints a lyrical picture ... You fall in love with Arcadia's protagonist, Bit, and find yourself transported to a different time, place and lifestyle.'" (Stylist 5 stars)
"Lauren Groff's Arcadia is so immersed in the life of a hippie commune that patchouli ought to waft off its pages.Ms. Groff has taken a quaint, easily caricatured community and given it true universality, not just the knee-jerk kind that Arcadian platitudes espoused. Even more unexpectedly, she has expanded this period piece so that it stretches from 1965 to 2018, coaxing forth a remarkable amount of suspense from the way her characters change over time. And a book that might have been small, dated and insular winds up feeling timeless and vast. The raw beauty of Ms. Groff's prose is one of the best things about Arcadia. But it is by no means this book's only kind of splendour.Arcadia is stunningly sensual and visceral in describing behaviour straight out of a time capsule.A shimmering evocation of the commune's heyday. Even allowing for Ms. Groff's extraordinarily rich imagination, she writes about this life as if she has known it." (New York Times)
"With Arcadia, Groff has woven her own tale, in eloquent prose that's rich in sense of place and depth of feeling" (Holly Williams Independent on Sunday)
Présentation de l'éditeur
From the bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton comes a lyrical and gripping story of a great American dream.
In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after.
Arcadia's inhabitants include Handy, a musician and the group's charismatic leader; Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah's only child, the book's protagonist, Bit, who is born soon after the commune is created.
While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. If he remains in love with the peaceful agrarian life in Arcadia and deeply attached to its residents - including Handy and Astrid's lithe and deeply troubled daughter, Helle - how can Bit become his own man? How will he make his way through life and the world outside of Arcadia where he must eventually live?
With Arcadia, her first novel since her lauded debut, The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff establishes herself not only as one of the most gifted young fiction writers at work today but also as one of our most accomplished literary artists.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Finally someone has addressed this intriguing part of American history. Arcadia is a novel that explores life for Bit (the oddball name sounds authentic), who was born and raised in the fictional commune. Arcadia is founded by intelligent, well-meaning and committed people. Then, as is often the case, success attracted a different crowd contributing to its demise.
The first part of the novel is brilliantly told from Bit Stone's childhood point of view. Arcadia is a large commune with a lot of activity. Sights, sounds and particularly smells are lavishly described--often in lyrical language. Bit is a sensitive child who although he suffers from his mother's depression, a lack of food, the cold, and a general lack of creature comforts, has no interest is leaving the only home he's ever known.
This part of the book is packed with thought-provoking details. Except for the author's irritating decision not to use punctuation to indicate speech, the book has its strengths. Lauren Groff did a great job on commune life. For example, the commune is led by a charismatic musician, Handy, who becomes predictably corrupt. The powerful effect of popular music on the counter-culture of the time was accurate and believable. However, 1) such a commune would have thrived slightly earlier in time, not after Jonestown, or Ronald Reagan's election and 2) a raison d'être for the commune (the draft for the war in Vietnam) would have been more prominent in everyone's consciousness. On the real-life commune I knew, people dodging the draft on their way to Canada were often drop-ins. Their unexpected stays often depleted the resources of the generous community.
The last part of the novel was weak. There is very little plot and what there is seems silly (a pandemic named `SARI'). It's as if Groff ran out of juice after her strong start. I wanted to learn how Bit handled the transition to life beyond Arcadia, but that was skipped over. As with the lives of Heron and Critter, I still wonder.
Which brings me to another gripe about this book - most of it seems to be telling a story rather than showing us a story through action. This, in my opinion, keeps the reader from understanding the characters and their motivations. I agree with other reviewers that I never really got a clear idea of who these people [and there are many!] are, what they look like or what makes them tick. Bit, the main character and protagonist, spends most of the novel being unhappy, it seemed, but I could never empathize with him. This is a serious flaw in such a long novel.