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"The Monsters of Templeton" by Lauren Groff

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Congratulations to Lauren Groff on publishing such a full and thought-provoking novel. Templeton's first and foremost monster dies in the lake by the little village - goes belly-up and, being the size of a bus, is winched up on the dock and sheltered from the sun by a canopy. Of course, the title has a plural noun, but I didn't find anyone else in the book particularly monstrous, at least in the present.
Groff unfolds a historic backdrop for Templeton's current cast - complete with a long story on the town's founder and a family tree. These are the real monsters, I guess. There are more rogues here than you can count; there's also insanity, serial murder, serial arson, more children born out of wedlock than within it. And that brings us to Willie Upton, the story's heroine, who undertakes a quest to find her father among the town's affable men in the generation before her.

"The Monsters of Templeton" is a noble effort - full and mature. I felt the tiniest bit like it lacked a focus - diverting descriptions, unnecessary plot directions - and became indistinct. It's a terrific first effort, make no mistake, but if Ms. Groff comes out with subsequent work that's praised, you'd do all right to start with that.
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