Book - 2018
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A collection of stories spanning centuries of time in mercurial Florida examines the decisions and connections behind life-changing events in characters ranging from two abandoned sisters to a conflicted family woman.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2018
ISBN: 9781594634512
Branch Call Number: FIC GROFF 2018
Characteristics: 275 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 19, 2019

If you ask me, the two most delightful stories are the first one (Ghosts and Empties) and the last one (Yport). They read quite autobiographically, quite like memoirs of women who are moms, with careers they feel they aren't excellent in, kids they feel as if they aren't parenting as well as they should, anxiety about their lives, their choices, their everything, and are married to husbands who are largely like gingerbread men (I would say like sugar cookies but they have their quirks and are largely absent, like they ran away with that goofy fake smirk on their flat faces). So these stories do that beautifully, if that's what you want to read. And I did. Without stopping. Because beautiful writing carries you through almost anything.

Except the few stories here that it did not. I hated, hated, hated the creepy weirdness of Eyewall. I didn't get it. I feel as if it's one of those stories that is experimental and rebellious, and if it were submitted for one of my graduate writing courses, it would have received a less than excellent grade. That might say more about the graduate writing courses I've taken, where creepy, weird, unrealistic, fantastic, imaginary, nightmarish, implausible fiction is discouraged and plot, for example, is somewhat important.

I know she's a weird writer. I've read bits and pieces of her previous work. It's fantastical and dream-like, and creative in a way that you either love or hate. That is why I chose to read this - as a primarily non-fiction reader, it's good to stretch yourself, to try new things, to imagine through the eyes of a gifted writer, to give your mind over to someone who can offer you a completely different perspective so when you return to your life, you can see it compared to what you lived through reading. But I could not give myself completely over to some of these stories. I can't read science fiction either, so there you go.

Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2018

Dec 18, 2018

Recc by Jan Nelson. Dark short stories, exposing all kinds of underbelly in human interaction.

Dec 15, 2018

A collection of depressing short stories mostly of females. Overloaded with description of surrounding and neurotic feelings. A complete description of a functional disorder of neurosis is used in ALL the stories. Florida is used as an location only and is hated. The conclusions are short, choppy, confusing, incomplete and/or senseless. The reader has nothing to gain from this book. I do not intend to read any more by this author.

Sep 24, 2018

Smell, feel, and taste Florida in these sensuous short stories about (mainly) restless and anxious women who have retreated from living. Impending threats and fears overhang each story like a heavy branch that could break in a storm. There is an art to writing a good short story and these measure up.

Sep 11, 2018

Depressing. Dark. Paints a much less appealing view of Florida than expected. The first few stories are beautiful. Then stop reading as they all become the same, melancholy experience.

Aug 13, 2018

This book is full of anxious women (particularly mothers), strained relationships, and nature's menace, yet I found many of these stories strangely comforting. Groff's writing is phenomenally accurate and vivid.

Jul 16, 2018

Engrossing vignettes of mostly Florida women's lives, somewhat depressing for the stark reality "slice-of-life," not to mention bugs, snakes, lizards, gators, weather, etc. The endings are abrupt, since it's just a "slice," and you are left to either accept that, or to wonder what might have happened next -- similar to something like, "She said a prayer as her car crossed over the freeway divider into oncoming traffic," period, end of story.

Jul 07, 2018

I’m not a fan of short stories I only picked up this book, because I have been sick and I needed shorter stories to match my attention span. This book did the trick. It treats Florida much differently than other books about Florida. The citizens of Florida are diverse, and there is diversity in this book about a variety of Floridians all will a different point of view. Excellent writing which leaves the reader to ponder before beginning the next story in the book.


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