laurengroff 6027c

Florida
By Lauren Groff
(Riverhead Books)

Sons, snakes, and sin. These are some of the themes that tie Lauren Groff’s new short-story collection together. Hanging over each tale is the heavy humidity of Florida, calming the characters with the scent of jasmine while frightening them with the constant threat of lurking predators. One of the most compelling stories is “At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners,” which follows a man as he decides how much his life will look like his parents’. Groff evokes a crystal clear sense of place, one that’s evolving—the Florida swamp developing into something unsuitable for snakes, alligators, and maybe even the people who remember the land before all its creatures were displaced. Groff’s protagonists often look for solace in running, and as she paints a picture of an interconnected community through their daily runs, she examines the larger anxieties of today, from climate change to the way technology can shape relationships. 

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Florida has an air of effortless timeliness; the stories hit home not from a desire to be part of a larger conversation, but almost inevitably, as if, through her stories, Groff is asking—What else could you possibly be thinking about? (5/5)

By Molly Horan
Florida was released June 5, 2018
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018  print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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