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 Handy and Astrid’s lithe and deeply troubled daughter, Helle --- 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.