For a collection so bound together by a location, or the notion of one, Lauren Groff’s latest book achieves a gorgeous universality. Successor to the seismically popular Fates and Furies, Florida – to which state Groff moved over a decade ago – is an astute short-story collection about human experience at the hems of a profoundly animal world. The stories in Florida are not always in Florida, but this is either beside the point, or part of it. In Groff’s rendering, Florida transcends geography. It is the state’s dank, animal spirit that dogs and permeates one story after the next and is symptomatic of the wide-reaching tension between civilisation and wilderness at the heart of this collection.
Human and environmental dramas unfold in counterpoint, encroaching on each other as manmade sprawls swallow up land and storms ravage neighbourhoods. In ‘Dogs Go Wolf’, two young sisters are abandoned by their flighty mother on an island fishing camp. Time goes on; the gas for the generator runs