In some ways, Lauren Groff is better suited, as a writer and story teller, for short stories than novels. In many of her interviews, it’s clear that she has a gift for insight and thoughtful summations of place, time, relationships, parenthood and other topics, but it’s rare that these insights build on each other and create full bodies of knowledge or narrative arcs that can bear the weight of a full novel. I should clarify, I liked Fates and Furies, but even then it was mostly the second half that I thought was full of memorable, laudable story telling.

Groff’s training as a poet is apparent in her writing. She takes words seriously. She is motivated by them. She wants them to serve her story but often, it seems, she’s serving the words. And in some ways, trying to bring this kind of literary rigor to a state like Florida is a commendable goal. It just didn’t capture, for me, enough interest and wonder to rise above a certain, mostly superficial (like Florida, I suppose) leve of engagement.