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Florida

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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  18,256 ratings  ·  2,473 reviews
In Lauren Groff’s Florida, the hot sun shines, but a wild darkness lurks.

In her thrilling new book, Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild—a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. A family retreat can be
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by Riverhead Books (first published June 5th 2018)
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James Vickers I am a native Floridian. The book is very evocative of Florida. The descriptions of Florida and Gainesville are beautiful. I enjoyed the stories and…moreI am a native Floridian. The book is very evocative of Florida. The descriptions of Florida and Gainesville are beautiful. I enjoyed the stories and didn't find the book depressing, though some plot points can be weighted emotionally. (less)
Pamela You might like Delicate Edible Birds, which is another book of short stories, but better than Florida, I thought. I loved it.
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  18,256 ratings  ·  2,473 reviews


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Emily May
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The truth might be moral, but it isn't always right.

Snakes, gators, swamps and storms form the backdrop of these exquisitely human stories.

I have to say I enjoyed Florida so much more than Fates and Furies. Groff's writing style is dense and wordy, metaphorical and poetic and - sometimes - exhausting. Reading her full-length novel was a chore, but for me at least, Groff seems born to write short stories. Small, hard-hitting snippets of lives that still make you feel emotionally-drained, but
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Esil
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ew
3+ stars

I 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’s latest short story collection. Unfortunately, I can’t rave about the stories in the same way I raved about Fates and Furies. I recognize her talented writing, but there was a flat clever feel to her stories that made it hard for me to feel engaged. Most of the stories focused on
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Michael
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.

A collection of eleven short stories set mostly in the titular state, Florida examines the inner lives 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 like variations on the same set of themes. Groff writes lush sentences, full of
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Dianne
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's the thing - I really do 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 that.....I don't do so well with "dark," and all eleven of these stories are pretty dark. I don't think Lauren Groff likes Florida very much!

Here'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,
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Elyse  Walters
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first line in “Florida”, never left me.....
“I have somehow become a woman who yells”. The entire first story was one of my favorites from the collection.

Personally...
I’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
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Hannah
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 more of her books and this very strong collection of short stories has cemented her place in my heart.

While not every story is set in Florida, Groff’s protagonists all have a connection to that place, a connection they sometimes strain against and sometimes welcome. Her protagonists are women,
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PattyMacDotComma
3.5~4
“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 now live in a similar climate in Australia, so I can easily imagine myself in many of these stories. “Moving
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Rebecca
Two major, connected threads in this superb story 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 life to one scene. A dearth of named characters emphasizes just how universal the scenarios and emotions are. Groff’s style is like a cross between Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and her ...more
Katie
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 last story - and by far the 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
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Meike
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
When it comes to evocative prose, this is top-notch: As the title indicates, Groff creates a strong sense of place and her writing is extremely atmospheric. The damp heat, the glaring sun, the pouring rain, the neighborhoods, the relationships between people and their inner movements, and again and again: wild animals - it's all there, and very much alive. My problem though was that there are a lot of acute observations and empathic explorations of human feelings, but often, I didn't care much ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
These stories feel to me like a continuation of St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell (high praise from me as this remains my favorite short story collection), where Florida remains wild and unsettling and the people managing to live there have some of the same traits. There are also themes of missing parents, negligent/tired mothers, excessive drinking and other escapes, and infidelities that seem tucked away between paragraphs for the careful reader to notice and connect. ...more
Kasa Cotugno
During a recent visit, Lauren Groff shared that when her husband proposed moving back to his native Florida, she, appalled, made him sign a contract that they would leave in 10 years years. That was more than 12 years ago. In the intervening years, she has come to love the state and all its weirdness, and even gave it the top acknowledgement for this, her excellent book of short stories. She knows she is a short story writer, having entered Amherst as an aspiring poet and having the intelligence ...more
Janet
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This powerhouse of a book, a collection of short stories to cause your socks to shoot from your feet. I generally prefer novels, I have trouble settling into short stories. They're over all too soon, and they still feel unfinished. But not this time. The stories pull you in immediately, and when they've lived out their astonishing, twisty, unpredictable paths, you've gotten everything there is, you don't need a single sentence more. What a writer!

The stories are either set in Florida or have
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Ana
“Ghosts and Empties” 3 stars
“At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners” 3 stars
“Dogs Go Wolf” 2 stars
“The Midnight Zone” 2 stars
“Eyewall” 2 stars
“For the God of Love, for the Love of God” 2.5 stars
“Salvador” 2.5 stars
“Flower Hunters” 2 stars
“Above and Below” 2 stars
“Snake Stories” 2 stars
“Yport” 4 stars

Each story is slowly smothered by the overwritten prose, characters burdened with the most random thoughts and vaguest gestures. You might be spying on strangers and making up
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Jenna
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: story-collection
I'm not much of a fan of short stories but something about this book kept pulling at me, insisting I read it. Lauren Groff writes beautifully and with many and ever deepening layers. A few of the stories I really loved, a few I liked, and 2 I didn't much care for, but I'm glad I read this book.
Melinda
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Lauren Groff is a gifted writer — Fates and Furies enthralled me! — but my eyes hurt from rolling them so hard at this book.

The main problem? The narrators are SO ANNOYING, and they're all the same! A 30-something woman with two young sons and a decent (if distant) husband, who fancies herself a sexy misfit because she never fits in with those other moms — the ones who remember to bring cupcakes to class, let their children play princesses, and don’t at least partially resent their role as
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Britany
Being a Florida native, I had to pick this book up. This book solidly places Lauren Groff as an author I must read.

Short stories are really hard for me. I have a hard time connecting to the characters and separating the narratives out from each story. Some are stronger than others and some feel like filler. I immediately grasped onto Groff's writing. Her descriptions of the geography, the people, the relationships, and even the wildlife and vegetation are spot on. I appreciate her lens onto a
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Teresa
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I’m guessing several of these stories are autobiographical in nature, most have a distancing effect. Even in some of the third-person narrations, for only one thing, we’re not told the name of the main characters. These main characters are mostly wine-drinking mothers, with two young boys, living in Florida though originally from upstate New York, mostly happily married, though the husbands are largely absent. The characters are called “the mother,” “the older/bigger boy,” “the ...more
Marchpane
I’ve never visited Florida, but I do live in a similar climate so this setting, while foreign, felt more familiar than exotic to me. The heat and humidity, lush foliage, abundant wildlife mainly of the pointy-toothed kind, houses built on stumps with ceiling fans and sleepouts in concession to the weather – all are recognisable and skilfully evoked here. Groff’s prose style is impeccable, yet it seems so effortless.

Several of the stories in Florida toy with the creeping fear that arises when
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Jessica Woodbury
I have spent a long time thinking Lauren Groff and I just weren't a fit. Before this I'd read all three of her novels, and while I liked each better than the last, her distinctive style and prose were never the things that I liked the most. A story collection didn't seem like a good bet for us, since story collections tend to lean into an author's style and give less opportunities for the big plots that I've preferred from her. Ultimately I decided to try it, and I decided to do the audio since ...more
Amy
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't bother with quotation marks, and it's full of snakes. I hate both of those things. Yet here I am, giving it 5 stars. Enough said.
Dan
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this collection! As a Florida boy, I had high expectations and Groff met them and surpassed them. She captured the other side of the place that tourists — and the popular imagination — often miss, the grittiness and the quiet desperation. This collection is filled with a palpable sense of danger lurking around every corner in the natural world. The protagonists go to great lengths to protect themselves from panthers, gators, snakes, hurricanes, etc., but time and again find the ...more
Marialyce
Unfortunately, this book is going to be placed upon my DNF shelf. I absolutely loved Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies a five star read and more for me. However, this collection of short stories is doing nothing for me. The writing is wonderful but the characters and I are not making any connection at all and that makes the book drag for me.

So sorry to say I will stop at the 30% mark. Perhaps someday I will go back to it.
Laura
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
A collection of eleven short stories
On the surface these stories glitter with astute observations of the natural world, male/female relationships and in particular the role of (reluctant) mother to two small boys.
Some I liked, some I hated and several were just so, so – that’s normal in a collection, but I also felt the editor(s) had slipped in stories which were in no way relevant to the title – Florida. Two of the stories are set in rural France and a third in Salvador, Brazil – the rest in
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Celia
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Celia by: Elyse, Obama!!
Florida
I LOVED these short stories about Florida experiences. Why? I guess because I live in and love Florida. In the past (when I reviewed Fates and Furies), I criticized Groff’s flowery, over-the-top language. It seems to work very well here, or maybe it is because I really ID’ed with the story lines.

11 Short Stories described:

1) GHOSTS AND EMPTIES
Walking in the cold of night in Northern Florida, a woman observes her neighbors.

2) AT THE ROUND EARTH’S IMAGINED CORNERS
The life of Jude: his
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Jerrie (redwritinghood)
The lives of the women in these stories are as sluggish and stifling as a Florida summer. The weather, wildlife, and land of Florida plays a huge part in these stories, and in many cases seems to serve as a metaphor for their lives. Groff’s stories skillfully capture the ennui that can infect middle class motherhood, while still also highlighting the joys. NBA longlisted for fiction, I hope it makes the short list.
Abbie | ab_reads
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars

Thank you to @penguinrandomhouse for gifting me this copy of Florida by Lauren Groff to read and review! I’d been intrigued by Groff’s work after seeing a few people loving this collection on Instagram, and while a few of the stories were weaker than others, I’m glad to say that overall I enjoyed it!
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Throughout the whole collection there is the major overarching theme of women feeling unsettled or unsuited in their roles as wives and mothers, which is something that I always find
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Resh (The Book Satchel)
4.5 stars

The writing is brilliant - slow, atmospheric, dark, vulnerable characters and has themes of loneliness, grief and loss. The book is a delight from start to the end. If you enjoy stories for their quality of narration and not necessarily look for a definitive ending, this one's for you. An excellent short story collection of 2018
Elaine Mullane
4.5 stars

Eleven stories; eleven people with a connection to the state of Florida, which in itself is a character in this newest offering from Lauren Groff. Florida's dense landscapes, its damp climate, its energy and its history come together to form a wonderful collection of engrossing stories about mostly women, mothers and their families. The coherence in these stories lies in their ability to unnerve you; to make you feel like the ground you stand on could crack and disintegrate under your
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Judith E
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Groff has nailed Florida in her collection of short stories. Snakes, gators, palmettos, sinkholes and environmental changes make a steamy, hot setting and Lauren Groff is excellent at setting and characters. Her portrayal of maternal fears and love of children is lovely. But, as in her novel, Arcadia, there is an absence of intention, a lack of purpose, a jumble of weak thoughts. I feel like her writing is on the cusp of something great. I hope so.
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Around the Year i...: Florida, by Lauren Groff 1 21 Jan 24, 2019 05:01PM  
TBTL sTens Book Club: Book suggestions? 6 16 Dec 16, 2018 01:29PM  
Prize Readers: 2018 NBA Longlist: Florida 14 37 Oct 27, 2018 02:27PM  
Play Book Tag: [Decathlon} Florida by Lauren Groff 3.5 stars 7 29 Jun 24, 2018 12:01PM  
The Mary Sue Book...: Florida 1 5 Jun 10, 2018 09:26PM  

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Lauren Groff was born in Cooperstown, N.Y. and grew up one block from the Baseball Hall of Fame. She graduated from Amherst College and has an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals, including The Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Hobart, and Five Points as well as in the anthologies Best
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“She always wanted to be the kind of person who could play the "Moonlight" Sonata.

She buries her failure in this, as she buries all her failures, in reading.”
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“My eyes were closed and I was almost asleep when I said, Tell me. You think there are still good people in the world?

Oh ,yes, he said. Billions. It’s just that the bad ones make so much more noise.”
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