Matrix: THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - Lauren Groff; | Foyles Bookstore
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'Lush, gripping and ferocious, MATRIX is animated with sensual detail on every page' MADELINE MILLER

'An audacious piece of storytelling, full of passion, wisdom and magic' SARAH WATERS

'MATRIX is a gorgeous, sensual, addictive read' SARA COLLINS


Seventeen-year-old Marie, too wild for courtly life, is thrown to the dogs one winter morning, expelled from the royal court to become the prioress of an abbey. Marie is strange - tall, a giantess, her elbows and knees stick out, ungainly.

At first taken aback by life at the abbey, Marie finds purpose and passion among her mercurial sisters. Yet she deeply misses her secret lover Cecily and queen Eleanor.

Born last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, women who flew across the countryside with their sword fighting and dagger work, Marie decides to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. She will bring herself, and her sisters, out of the darkness, into riches and power.

MATRIX is a bold vision of female love, devotion and desire from one of the most adventurous writers at work today.


'A thrillingly vivid, adventurous story about women and power that will blow readers' minds. Left me gasping.' EMMA DONOGHUE

'Both epic and intimate, this sweeping novel explores questions of female ambition, creativity and passion with electrifying prose and sparkling wit. A propulsive, captivating read' BRIT BENNETT

'Visionary leader, queer lover, 12th-century writer ... the life of Marie de France is triumphantly reimagined in an assertively modern novel about female ambition and creativity... a highly distinctive novel of great vigour and boldness. From mystical visions that may or may not be divine, to the earthy business of abbey pigs, diseases and account books, Groff does it all with purpose and panache' Guardian

'Groff's writing is muscular and precise, her themes wildly resonant' Sunday Times

'A remarkable novel: unusual, profound, transcendental' Evening Standard

Fiction & PoetryHistorical FictionFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Cornerstone Publication Date: 23/09/2021 ISBN-13: 9781785151903  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Lauren Groff is a two-time National Book Award finalist and the New York Times bestselling author of three novels, The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia and Fates and Furies, and two short story collections, Delicate Edible Birds and Florida. She has won The Story Prize and been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work regularly appears in the New Yorker, the Atlantic and elsewhere, and she was named one of Granta's 2017 Best Young American Novelists.

More books by Lauren Groff

Customer Reviews

Historical fiction is rarely as powerful as this novel of a remarkable woman, an abbey and a life that draws its depths from visions and love. In a near poetic novel that reveals the story of Marie de France, huge, ungainly and obsessive, there is a strong and vital message about the strength of women and girls when directed. The creation of a community of nuns and other women from a tiny, impoverished abbey which comes to rely on the visionary and almost supernatural power of a woman is almost a fable, but it is set in times of enormous political and religious upheaval. As Queen Eleanor of Aquitane leads her brilliant court, Marie wants to be in that place, not in a miserable weather lashed corner of an England seemingly deprived of colours. She will do anything, risk everything just to be in the presence of the queen who she undoubtedly loves. It is her tragedy that she cannot be, but also her greatest inspiration. This is a rare book that challenges perspectives on how women can live together in a community which has to deal with sometimes brutal death, but also reflects the gentle tenderness of love. Told in the present tense, centring on the emotions, thoughts and visions of a remarkable woman, it is an inspiring tale of how a very basic setting allows for sophisticated creation of buildings, places for women to live and work on their own merits and gifts. The plot is Marie’s progress, her life, its challenges and victories. It is honest, as she realises her limitations, but also her great strength. The quality of the writing is extraordinary, episodic but drawn together into a narrative that carries the reader along. I found this an amazing novel and I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read and review it. The novel opens with the seventeen year old Marie travelling through the March drizzle to get to the abbey where she knows she will be stuck for life. Although of royal blood, she was illegitimate and grew up surrounded by physically active aunts who shared her large frame and strength. She has had to leave her life long friend, servant and lover Cecily behind, and be exiled from the bright and glorious court of Eleanor whom she has always adored. She has run her family estate for years after her mother died, a fact she concealed, and now is considered unlikely to secure a suitable marriage. She is to be exiled to be prioress of the obscure English abbey which has plunged into starvation, disease and poverty. When she arrives they are shocked by her size and lack of apparent piety, and for some time she is unhappy in the silence, circle of prayer and absence from the women she loves. It will take a huge change to save the abbey, but also ignite the interest of a remarkable woman in a project that will take her life in so many ways. I found that this book is quite a reading experience, with much to say about the nature of women living and working together through life in an isolated community. It is a remarkable book which I found drew me in and is unique in its powerful story of love, vision and purpose. I recommend it strongly as an incredible read from an immensely talented writer.

- 15/10/2021
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