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Extended Audio Sample Arcadia Audiobook, by Lauren Groff Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,368 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren Groff Narrator: Andrew Garman Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9781464038303
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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 Helle, Handy and Astrid’s lithe and deeply troubled daughter—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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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Lauren Groff] has taken a quaint, easily caricatured community and given it true universality. 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 splendor.”

    New York Times
  • “Richly peopled and ambitious and oh, so lovely, Lauren Groff’s Arcadia is one of the most moving and satisfying novels I’ve read in a long time. It’s not possible to write any better without showing off.”

    Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

  • “An astonishing novel, both in ambition and achievement, filled with revelations that appear inevitable in retrospect, amid the cycle of life and death.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the March 2012 Indie Next List
  • A 2012 Washington Post Best Book
  • A 2012 Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Booklist Editors’ Choice Selection for Fiction
  • A 2012 BookPage Best Book
  • A 2012 eMusic Best Audiobook of the Year for Fiction
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction, 2012
  • A 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dearwassily | 2/19/2014

    " Think of this story as a bell curve. Starts out slow, gets better, drops off. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maggie | 2/19/2014

    " Just mesmerizing, full of gorgeous prose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 2/18/2014

    " A library book club read. Amazing writing; poetic at times. A 70's commune and its effect on a child who grows up within it. Protagonist is male, but filled with beautifully drawn female characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley Hutto | 2/8/2014

    " Beautifully and imaginatively crafted novel about a community traversing the changes of life together. So well written you become attached to each and every character and are very sad to see them go. Groff is a really talented author who one to look out for... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mandy Cooper | 1/20/2014

    " Not quite a solid 4 stars, but closer to 4 than 3. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stacy Overton | 1/18/2014

    " As my friend would say.......meh. Hard time getting through the first part. Some parts were well written but a lot of uninspiring for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn Powell | 1/1/2014

    " This is the story of Bit, a boy born in a hippy commune (Arcadia) in the 60's where he lives until his family re-enters the "big world" when he is about 14. Bit is an exceptionally sensitive person and experiences life SO deeply and emotionally. I literally had tears running down my face for about 2/3 of the book, but it was so well written and the characters were captivating. The book spans most of Bit's life. He never quite gets over the dissolution of Arcadia and life in the commune, although he lives and works relatively successfully in NYC through most of his adult life. I really enjoyed the book, but my face is still swollen from all the crying. WHEW!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cid | 12/30/2013

    " Told from the point of view of Bit, a child growing up there, this book follows the rise, decline and after years of a commune called Arcadia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey Blake | 12/21/2013

    " Story of commune living in western New York in the early 1970's. Story spans 2 generations and is some of the best prose I've read in a long time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom Goelz | 12/21/2013

    " So so sad to have this one end. Maybe not really a full five stars but I was deeply affected, infected. Delightful and uplifting. Piercing in its pain. Hard to pick up the next book right now... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Merrell | 12/11/2013

    " sad and haunting. Wonderful use of limited POV. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenna Copeland | 11/23/2013

    " I grew attached this this book and Little Bit, but I'm not sure I liked it equally throughout its pages. Interesting to ponder freedom and community like that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shoshana G | 9/20/2013

    " I particularly liked the beginning of this book, and I thought the whole thing was beautifully and lyrically written, but I wasn't really invested in the characters or the story - it won't stick with me the way some of the other Tournament of Books books will. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica | 9/18/2013

    " I think short stories are really Groff's forte. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 9/8/2013

    " Well written and engaging, especially for folks who lived the 1960s among the fringes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori Botterman | 8/30/2013

    " For a lyrical type novel, I really enjoyed this. I don't typically like this genre, but this one was well written and the subject matter/plot is original and fresh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monicque | 8/22/2013

    " The writing flowed very well. I enjoyed it, but it probably will not stick with me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin Boldon | 4/16/2013

    " Great characters, lovely writing (though once or twice perhaps trying too hard, like bread that "plumpens" on the shelf), and an intriguing time frame for the story. I went in knowing little about the story, and was impressed and immersed in the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia Mccowan | 4/5/2013

    " I loved the sensuality of this book. Groff's writing is lyrical yet gritty, heart-felt, yet funny. And with all that, she never forgets about a plot that compels the reader onward! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daryle | 3/27/2013

    " I'm always a sucker for books about hippies living in a commune, and this one did not disappoint! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 2/28/2013

    " I was a bit skeptical about this book. I didn't think I'd enjoy reading about people in a commune. Of course, it was about much more than that. This was really a surprisingly lovely story about hope, love, and family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally Mesibov | 10/22/2012

    " It is beautifully written, but I had a difficult time connecting with any of the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia Kearney | 7/4/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book. Life in a 60's commune come to life as told through the child narrator little Bit Stone. The story goes from childhood to teenager and to becoming a man after growing up in a commune, the only life he knew. Beautifully told. I would recommend this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Samantha Davenport | 3/11/2012

    " This was fascinating reading. I couldn't put it down. "

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About the Author
Author Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff is a New York Times bestselling novelist and acclaimed short story writer. She was born in Cooperstown, NY and received her MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her short stories have appeared in a number of prestigious publications and journals, including the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, and Best New American Voices 2008. She was awarded the Axton Fellowship at the University of Louisville, and her first novel, The Monsters of Templeton, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers; it was also a New York Times bestseller. Groff currently lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and two sons.

About the Narrator

Andrew Garman is a television, film, and voice actor. His acting credits include the film Julie & Julia and appearances the television series Law & Order, Mercy, and Conviction. Among his audiobook narrations are Arcadia by Lauren Groff, Simply from Scratch by Alicia Bessette, and Love Is a Canoe by Ben Schrank, among others.