3 starsI Eternal Quest loved Lauren Groff s Fates and Furies I thought the writing was absolutely brilliant and the story and characters were really original So I was pretty excited to get my hands on Florida which is Groff satest short story collection Unfortunately I ca Here s the thing I really do The Widows Little Secret love Groff s writing These short stories are no exception she is a master craftsman She paints so well with her words and phrasing It s just thatI don t do so well with dark and all eleven of these stories are pretty dark I don t think Lauren Groffikes Florida very muchHere s what I took away from this collection Florida is mold feral cats snakes bugs humidity rot spanish moss vines gators sinkholes homelessness tent cities termites mosuitos hurricanes Resurrection Year lizards panthers a damp and dense tangle bleaching sun dread and heatMotherhood is something to be deeply conflicted about When in doubt drink heavilyEveryone isonely The Fire Within (Rockford Fire Department loneliness is everwhere and ghosts surround you Whenonely drink heavilyMen are predatory scum rapists abusive devious self involved OR tender and kind fathershusbands OR any combination of the above yet another thing to be deeply conflicted aboutGlobal warming climate change is something to obsess about on a daily basis These are all really well articulated stories but they are also disturbingly bleak I was relieved to be done with the bookA 4 for the writing a 3 for how much I iked it If Goodreads allowed it I would give this a #35 but rounding down to a 3 because I just didn t really ike it I m spending two #but rounding down to a 3 because I just didn t really Tame an Older Man (Harlequin American Romance, like it I m spending two in Florida in October That gives me just over 3 months to shake this off 354 When she was pregnant with Jude s sister she came into the bathroom to take a cool bath one August night and without her glasses missed the three foot albino alligator her husband had stored in the bathtub The next morning she was gone Florida Hot sticky treacherous or as one character says damp dense tangle An Eden of dangerous things I have spent time there and I nowive in a similar climate in Australia so I can easily imagine myself in many of these stories Moving in the humidity was ike forcing my way through wet silk The Florida storms are horrific and frightening and wonderfully described Standing next to the edge of a sinkhole in the rain must be terrifying too Climate change gets than a passing mention in a few stories because Florida of course is already being inundated by rising seas and hit by heavy storms One woman has exhausted her best friend s patience with her constant worries about the future to the point that the friend has asked to take a break from her She just wishes she could take a break point that the friend has asked to take a break from her She just wishes she could take a break herselfMost of the main characters are of a youngish or early middle age group although there is one in particular who worried about becoming what is often referred to a woman of a certain age She had rented an apartment in Salvador for a two week escape from caring for her elderly mother Her guilt ridden sisters paid for her holiday every year so she goes to ive it up Helena was in that viscous pool of years in her A Miracle, A Universe late thirties when she could feel her beauty slowly departing from her She had beenovely at one time which slid into pretty which slid into attractive and now if she didn t do something major to halt the slide she d end up at handsomely middle aged which was no place at all to be I d be happy with handsomely middle aged but then I m not trying to party hearty fitting in a year s worth of escapades into a couple of weeks Poor HelenaThere s no uestion that Groff is a good writer I think if I d read any of these stories separately in The New Yorker Magazine or other publications where her writing appears I d have seriously enjoyed them As it is I found them repetitive and unrelentingly dismal From the woman who goes running to escape her husband her kids the nightly chores of bath and bed or maybe ife itself to the woman who takes her two ittle boys to France to escape Florida with its storms snakes and deadly creatures in the dark There is a Aguecheeks Beef, Belchs Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections lot of bemoaning their condition and aot of drinking of wine Bottle. The stories in this collection span characters towns decades even centuries but Florida its andscape climate history and state of mind becomes its gravitational center an energy a mood as mu. I wished they would have ended on definitive notes Favorite stories included Ghost and Empties Above and Below and Yport If these stories are anything to go by Lauren Groff is almost comprehensively disillusioned with men Men in these #stories are either absent inept in another world or downright threatening The ast story and by far #are either absent inept in another world or downright threatening The ast story and by far Constantinople and the West least successful goes the whole hog and deploys Guy de Mauspassant to paint a thoroughly irksome and depressing portrait of masculinity As a Brit one tends to forget how many deadly creatures there are in the US The most scary threat we face from the natural world here is perhaps a bee sting Groff s Florida is teeming with aligators snakes wild cats bears And then there s the murderous weather All the stories in Florida are aboutonely nameless women stranded close to the heart of darkness There s a constant sense the pollution and corruption everywhere the wild weather that Armageddon isn t far away It s a gloomy vision But the writing as you d expect is fabulously alive with vitality and elouence Were I an editor I would have omitted the Enduring Truths last andongest story For me it spoilt this otherwise riveting collection of thematically Myst linked stories It wasn t very well written and itacked the subtlety of the other stories Strange that the only story about a novelist proved to be the weakest If there s one subject a novelist ought to be able to make compelling it s her own profession but oddly Groff s novelist was never convincing And the anti male propaganda was over the top It s the stories that are actually set in Florida that are the best I wonder if there exists a collection of short stories by anyone Chekhov where the uality is maintained throughout And I m not sure it s a good idea to place the worst story The Chinese Love Pavilion last By the time you come to review you have the disappointing final stories uppermost in your mind A better trick would be to insert the worst stories in the middle and end with a cracker I probably would have given this five stars if the order had been changed After all you expect aittle tension to disappear in the middle of the novel but if it ends well you forget I was The Peloponnesian War left feeling women needove than men do Now I m wondering if that s true Two MAJOR CONNECTED THREADS IN THIS SUPERB connected threads in this superb collection are ambivalence about Florida and ambivalence about motherhood There s an oppressive atmosphere throughout with environmental catastrophe an underlying threat Set ups vary in scope from almost the whole span of a Dolphin Confidential life to one scene A dearth of named characters emphasizes just how universal the scenarios and emotions are Groff s style isike a cross between Karen Russell s Swamplandia and Cormac McCarthy s The Road and her unexpected turns of phrase jump off the pageThe narrator of The Midnight Zone staying with her sons in a hunting camp 20 miles from civilization ponders the cruelty of time and her failure to be sufficiently maternal while the woman in Flower Hunters is so Mairis Mermaid lost in an eighteenth century naturalist s book that she forgets to get Halloween costumes for her kids A few favorites of mine were Ghosts and Empties in which the narrator goes forong walks at twilight and watches time passing through the unwitting tableaux of the neighbors windows Eyewall a matter of fact ghost story and Above and Below in which a woman slips into homelessness it s terrifying how precarious her Windchill Summer life is at every step Florida feels innovative and terrifyingly relevant Any one of its stories is a bracing read together they form a masterpieceI reviewed this for the May 30th Stylist Book Wars columnSome favoriteines What had been built to seem so solid was fragile in the face of time because time is impassive animal than human Time would not care if you fell out of it It would continue on without you from The Midnight Zone The wind played the chimney until the whole place wheezed The Shadow of Your Smile like a bagpipe from Eyewall everybody is sleeping save for the tree frogs and the sinners from Snake Stories Howonely it would be the mother thinks The Three Worlds looking at her children toive in this dark world without them from Yport. E of time With shocking accuracy and effect she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain hope and despair ove and fury the moments that make us aliv. .
download Florida author Lauren Groff.
After bottle drunk aloneI felt as if all these
women could be summed up by the one who took her ittle boys overseas hoping to enjoycould be summed up by the one who took her ittle boys overseas hoping to enjoy voyage of self discovery She doesn t belong in France perhaps she never did she was always simply her flawed and neurotic self even in French Of all places in the world she belongs in Florida How dispiriting to Lectures on Buildings learn this of herself Dispirited is how I felt most of the time while reading this and annoyed because it is obvious to me that this is someone whose writing I d enjoy but not about womenike this who all seem to be slightly different but eually miserable versions of each other I waited a few days to write this and I have to admit I find it hard to remember any of them separately They ve all melded together single married rich or poor I will definitely Land look for Groff s highly acclaimed first book though Thanks to NetGalley and Random House William Heinemann for the preview copy from which I ve uoted The truth might be moral but it isn t always right Snakes gators swamps and storms form the backdrop of these exuisitely human storiesI have to say I enjoyed Florida so much than Fates and Furies Groff s writing style is dense and wordy metaphorical and poetic and sometimes exhausting Reading her fullength novel was a chore but for me at In Defense of History: Marxism and the Postmodern Agenda least Groff seems born to write short stories Small hard hitting snippets ofives that still make you feel emotionally drained but also thoughtful and satisfiedThe natural wonders and dangers of Florida play into almost all these stories A snake devotee meets his end in the wilderness at the hands of his The Armlet of the Gods life s passion A stressed mother of two boys is injured in aiteral The first The Crystal Rose line in Florida nevereft me I have somehow become a woman who yells The entire first story was one of my favorites from the collection PersonallyI ve played with manatees taken walks in the scorching heat spent beach days with our dogs witnessed thousands of dead smelly fish along the coastline and survived the panic of my daughter caught in the middle of a nasty hurricane Florida flat as a pancake with hurricanes alligators and snakes sticky hot I miss the mountains and redwoods whenever I visit Lauren Groff got me with these short storiesI didn t expect much I haven t been a goo goo fan of herMy fear is she s too brilliant for me to understand too sarcastic too cynical and simply sees the world through all that is wrong However I kinda fell in ove with Lauren and her stories in FloridaI m #NOT JUMPING HER FAN BAND WAGON JUST YETBUT I #jumping her fan band wagon just yetbut I something in these stories that was missing for me in Furies Lauren is a wizard with words an inventor with her sentences an artist creator and part subtle comedian These stories are dark but not without humor I can t believe I m saying this but I could easily read this again In fact I d ove to want toLauren s stories spin on words creative gorgeous sentences moved me I experienced all that s wrong with the world funneled through mothers in Floridathrough their anger vulnerability but also from a place of ownership responsibility I enjoyed this bookand surprised myself Any book called Florida needs to be infused by a thorough sense of place and Lauren Groff does just that I have been a fan since LOVING Fates and Furies a few years back and have been meaning to pick up of her books and this very strong collection of short stories fulfilling my 2020 goal to read at Finding Happily-Ever-After (Matchmaking Mamas, least one book each month that was given to me as a present that i haven t yet gotten around to reading because i am an ungrateful dickreview to come A collection of eleven short stories set mostly in the titular state Florida examines the innerives of young women and mothers afflicted by malaise alcoholism and occasionally despair Abusive men neglected children unbearable storms and the southern wilderness recur throughout the collection the pieces gathered here feel ike variations on the same set of themes Groff writes ush sentences full of palpable and unsettling images and her stories move at a measured pace Sometimes the stories felt scattered in focus and occasionally. Ch 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 Drama, Psychotherapy and Psychosis loneliness rage family and the passag.