Florida // Lauren Groff

My love of short stories is well known by now, at least to me. It’s possible I love a good short story collection more than a good novel, though if you’d asked me ten years ago, I would’ve said that was impossible.

(I’d still say it’s possible, but not probable, overall.)

When I saw the new work from Lauren Groff (author of the phenomenal Fates and Furies) was a collection of short stories set in Florida, I was thrilled. I lived in Florida briefly, and I don’t think I’d want to revisit my time there, even for the mild winters, yet the stories resonated with me nonetheless*. Florida is dark, oppressive, full of dread—an “Eden of dangerous things”—essentially everything I hoped it would be.

Groff captures the gritty essence of the state. The stories are rich in characters, atmosphere, and perils of the natural world. The author has a wonderful way of phrasing and describing even the most mundane of activities, it can make for compelling reading. This collection is a wonderful addition to Groff’s work and a great pick for your summer reading list. If you’re unsure about this one, a few of the stories are available online at the New Yorker.

*perhaps because I don’t have fond memories of the insects, arachnids, predators, and general ly oppressive heat and humidity…

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