My last official book recommendation of 2018 is The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. This novel is a truly lovely piece of literary fiction. It’s a magical realist, historical, contemporary ghost story, and it’s amazing. Groff’s writing style is one that, whenever I read it, pushes me to be a better writer. If you’re a lover of literary fiction or magical realist fiction, you HAVE to read this book. Have to.
I picked up this book because Groff was my first creative writing professor when I was at the University of Louisville. She was such a positive, encouraging, challenging force in my life, and I bought the book out of a sense of loyalty to her. And man, am I glad I did. I started reading and could barely put it down. I go back to it often, even though it’s been years, for inspiration. I highly recommend this novel.
“NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER — the debut novel by the acclaimed author of Fates and Furies.
"The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass."
So begins The Monsters of Templeton, a novel spanning two centuries: part contemporary story of a girl's search for her father; part historical novel; and part ghost story. In the wake of a disastrous love affair with her older, married archaeology professor at Stanford, brilliant Wilhelmina Cooper arrives back at the doorstep of her hippie mother-turned-born-again-Christian's house in Templeton, NY, a storybook town her ancestors founded that sits on the shores of Lake Glimmerglass. Upon her arrival, a prehistoric monster surfaces in the lake bringing a feeding frenzy to the quiet town, and Willie learns she has a mystery father, one her mother kept secret Willie's entire life.
The beautiful, broody Willie is told that the key to her biological father's identity lies somewhere in her family's history, so she buries herself in the research of her twisted family tree and finds more than she bargained for as a chorus of voices from the town's past—some sinister, all fascinating—rise up around her to tell their side of the story. In the end, dark secrets come to light, past and present day are blurred, and old mysteries are finally put to rest.
The Monsters of Templeton is a fresh, virtuoso performance that has placed Lauren Groff among the best writers of today.”