Lauren Groff’s engrossing second novel, Arcadia, centers on the first child born in an upstate New York commune where utopian ideals inevitably clash with the darker side of human nature. The boy’s name is Bit, whom we come to know intimately over the course of the narrative’s move from the late 1960s through 2018 — an arc that parallels America’s own complicated trajectory over that same period of time.
Marked by Groff’s lyrical prose, a refreshingly even-handed take on subject matter that is often satirized and an uncommonly evocative re-creation of a specific time and place, it’s no surprise Arcadia has garnered a smorgasbord of praise from across the literary landscape.
Lauren Groff speaks at 7 p.m. Thursday at UC’s Elliston Poetry Room in the Langsam Library. http://www.artsci.uc.edu/collegedepts/english/events/.