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Lauren Groff is "a writer of rare gifts"*, and Florida - her first new book since her "clear the ground triumph"* Fates and Furies - is an electrifying, expanding listen.
Over a decade ago, Groff moved to her adopted home state of Florida. 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. Storms, snakes, and sinkholes lurk at the edge of everyday life, but the greater threats and mysteries are of a human, emotional, and psychological nature.
Groff's evocative storytelling and knife-sharp intelligence first transport the listener, then jolt 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, Groff pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury - the moments that make us alive. Vigorous, startling, precise, and moving, Florida is a magnificent achievement.
(*The New York Times, Washington Post)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ethan Gouveia on 06-16-18
Don't buy the audiobook
I don't think this is a book for me, so I'm not gonna tell people not to read it. I am going to tell you that the audiobook version is frustratingly bad. The chapters are seemingly placed at random intervals throughout the short stories. Some end halfway through a sentence without any explanation as to why. On top of that, it's impossible to tell when any of the short stories will end, since every chapter is approximately the same length. If this book interests you, read it yourself, don't listen to it on Audible.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Douglas on 06-15-18
Why oh why do authors narrate their own books? There are so many fantastically talented people out there with voices that perfectly fit the idea the author is trying to convey. Just pick one and sit back and relax.
Lauren Groff, God bless her, has a lisp on her S's that doesn't make her any less of a person, and by Chapter 30 or so you kinda (sorta) get used to it, but man does it distract from listening. Once you notice the impediment it's all that you hear. Ugh..
As for as my ratings of two's across the boards, I have to say some of that was my fault. I've lived in Florida for the past 5 years, and whenever I move to a new place I like to get a sense of the history and the culture. I saw the Florida Panther on the cover and scanned the review. To me I thought this was going to be about Florida's colorful history.
But unfortunately the stories have little to do with my adoptive home state. They honestly could happen anywhere, and then Ms. Groff throws in a token mention of a hurricane or a gator just to keep with the theme.
If you want books outlining some of the color of the Sunshine State, check out the library of Carl Hiaasen. If you want dreamy narrating, poetic writing, and a mish-mosh of short stories that could take place anywhere, pick up this little book.
10 of 13 people found this review helpful