Reviews

Florida // Lauren Groff

My love of short stories is well known by now, at least to me. It’s possible I love a good short story collection more than a good novel, though if you’d asked me ten years ago, I would’ve said that was impossible.

(I’d still say it’s possible, but not probable, overall.)

When I saw the new work from Lauren Groff (author of the phenomenal Fates and Furies) was a collection of short stories set in Florida, I was thrilled. I lived in Florida briefly, and I don’t think I’d want to revisit my time there, even for the mild winters, yet the stories resonated with me nonetheless*. Florida is dark, oppressive, full of dread—an “Eden of dangerous things”—essentially everything I hoped it would be.

Groff captures the gritty essence of the state. The stories are rich in characters, atmosphere, and perils of the natural world. The author has a wonderful way of phrasing and describing even the most mundane of activities, it can make for compelling reading. This collection is a wonderful addition to Groff’s work and a great pick for your summer reading list. If you’re unsure about this one, a few of the stories are available online at the New Yorker.

*perhaps because I don’t have fond memories of the insects, arachnids, predators, and general ly oppressive heat and humidity…

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  • Kate

    Okay, I still haven’t read Fates & Furies but Florida will come first – it’s on my 20 Books of Summer (Winter) list. I’m pleased you rate this collection highly given that I read Sittenfeld’s new collection a month ago (it was extraordinarily good and I’m not usually the biggest fan of short stories).
    My experience of Florida (the place) was brief, sublime and probably not at all representative of true Florida life – a week on my own staying at The Raleigh in South Beach, looking at Art Deco architecture and lying on the beach (where here was a guy to clean my sunglasses and bring me cocktails…). Best week of my life.

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