Saturday, March 24, 2012

What is Lauren Groff reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Lauren Groff, author of Arcadia.

Her entry begins:
I'm doing research for my next project, whatever it will end up being, and I am halfway through Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert. Research, for me, involves a lot of reading indirectly around the subject I'm interested in, to try to find a unique way into it, which seems sometimes approximately as useful as staring at the night sky to study the sun. I can't tell you my actual subject--talking too soon about a book is the surest way to kill it--but I can tell you that Bouvard et Pécuchet is not one of Flaubert's best novels. The book is a satirical picaresque, incomplete when it was posthumously published, and it is about a pair of blundering friends who come into some money and do absolutely nothing right with it. If...[read on]
About Arcadia, from the publisher:
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.
Learn more about the book and author at Lauren Groff's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: The Monsters of Templeton.

The Page 69 Test: Arcadia.

Writers Read: Lauren Groff.

--Marshal Zeringue