Book Blog Habit - Florida - Lauren Groff

by Lauren Groff

In this collection of 11 stories, Groff suggests that as true wilderness diminishes, its qualities of ferocity, its sudden unveiling of the unexpected and its feral tendencies are infiltrating suburban American life, and that the state of Florida is the leading edge of this transition. Her characters are fully alive on the page as if they have ingested some of its wildness.

A woman made furious by “the disaster of the world, … the hundreds of unrecorded deaths of species”, …reads and savagely mourns their deaths.” She spends her nights walking the streets of her community, looking in on her neighbors’ lives and doing her best to calm her foreboding.

Two little girls circled by a human savagery never quite named improvise their survival alone on an island.

A vibrant woman hired as an au pair sees the weariness in her still youthful employers who seem “too old” to see the beauty of life, and how “the whole world had been split open like a peach” if one could only see it.

Every story will draw you in. Not one qualifies as padding. Groff creates an ominous atmosphere better than any other serious contemporary writer I can name.

~ Mike Wall