Cover Image: Matrix

Matrix

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Member Reviews

If I could live in Groff’s words forever - I would! I absolutely devoured her writing in this latest book, and always enjoy how well-researched yet imaginative her stories are!

I know I saw a few reviews that pointed to this - but I absolutely loved the lack of male characters in this one! Amazing!
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I wanted to love this more than I did! Groff has ended up being a tricky writer for me, though I did love her short stories. This had the premise of everything I loved: religion, women in charge, queerness. In the end the writing was a bit dense for me at times, it was super flourished and had a medieval tone which I couldn't get past.
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Read this when it was first published. Not sure why NetGalley is giving it to me now....
Didn't feel like Lauren Groff's usual writing. It was the story of Marie de France, who was cast out of the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Marie is sent to England to become the new prioress at an impoverished abbey. Marie slowly turns the abbey around.
I'm glad I listened to this novel because I have a funny feeling I would have stopped reading. It was a bit boring at times. But the writing is flawless.
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This historical fiction novel follows a girl who becomes prioress of an improvised British abbey after being cast out of the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine. I was really interested to read about a woman determined to create a better life for the women around her, but I found the story itself fell flat. Just not the compelling historical nunnery story I was hoping for.
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The Queen can do no wrong! And the queen in question is Lauren Groff. With taking a forgotten figure in history she paints a micro-history of a time and a place. She sheds light on a group of people who often exist on the periphery of society, no longer serving their biological purpose  of procreation to the society, and restores their power.
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I love historical fiction and I love Lauren Groff so I was curious to see what the author would do with a story set in a twelfth century convent. This book follows poet Marie de France after she is banished to a struggling community of nuns by her beloved queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. I loved the reflection on faith, responsibility, and community, as well as the depiction of feminine strength. The writing in this novel was somehow both fiery and distant—a combination that really worked for this particular story, but was very different from other Groff works I’ve read. I don’t know if this will end up on my favorite books of the year list, but I did really enjoy it and I have a feeling I’ll love it more as I keep thinking about it.
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Lauren Groff is the author of 6 books. Two of those books —Florida and Fates & Furies—have been National Book Award finalists. And her latest novel—Matrix—has joined their ranks, as it was just revealed on this years National Book Award longlist.

The term “matrix” originates in the Latin mater, meaning "mother." And Lauren Groff’s novel Matrix features a fictional reimagining of a matrix, Marie de France, the abbess, or mother of an abbey. I recently spoke with Lauren Groff about Marie de France, about the many definitions of the word matrix, and about so much more. Here’s our conversation.
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Excellent book. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by this author and found the story fascinating. One of those books that stick with you.
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My favorite part of Marie might be that she wasn't a totally likeable character. It was so engaging to read about Marie and how she set out to live a life that was almost exactly what she wanted. 

The Matrix is a unique and compelling story that I highly recommend.
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I wanted to love this book but I just did not. And I am so sick of books without quotation marks. It’s ridiculous.
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n Lauren Groff's Matrix she imagines the life of 12th century poet Marie de France. Little is known about Marie, and Groff placing her in a abbey surrounded by women, is a bold and complicated move. The life of women is presented as special, and something to be admired and protected. The language of the book is beautiful. The review in The Guardian says: As in Groff’s earlier fiction, we are carried on the force of her style, and held by the strength of an intelligence that lets comedy and emotional complexity work together. That is true. I was engrossed by the book, but put off too. I kept trying to figure out who was telling the story, what was happening in the outside world, and why is this cloistered world so special. None of those questions are answered. Marie is powerful, creative, visionary, she lives, she dies, and the world goes on. 

I find that this book has stuck with me, and I have been thinking about the characters more now that I've stepped away. Maybe I wasn't put off...maybe I just needed time to process.
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If you enjoy character development then this book would be great.  Not much happens to the nuns that inhabit the abbey in this book so we really get to know who they are.
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In college, I specialized in medieval literature and history. I was so excited to read this book, and it didn't disappoint! Despite not much being known of her life, her lais are important to both history and literature.  It was a wonderful imagining of her life, and I highly recommend this book!
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I read this book for a bookclub, so I can hardly wait to see what others think.  Marie, a relation to Eleanor of Aquitaine, has been sent to court once her relatives find out her mother has died and they can claim the estate. She idolizes Eleanor, unfortunately the feeling is not mutual.  Marie is too tall and not conventionally attractive, so Eleanor sends her to a very poor convent.  Marie is a strong woman who eventually rises to abbess.   A very good read.
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I understand why some found it slow and plotless, but I loved it.  The word "luminous" is such a cliche but it applies here - for me, this was a meditative delight.
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I loved Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies, and her writing is incredible. However, I had a really hard time getting into this book and was unable to finish.
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I chose this for my library's book club title for February. I like historical fiction and am a fan of her short story collection "Florida". I liked Matrix overall but there is something about it that really bothers me and I'm having a hard time putting it into words. I feel the author is into this increasingly popular almost mythology around women as nearly magical beings who are very connected to one another, animals, and nature. The author is a woman or I'd be much more annoyed.
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This tale of Marie de France being cast out of the royal court and banished to a nunnery where she becomes the Abbess. Very little is known about Marie de France's life, so there's room here for Groff to imagine her development as a poet, her visions, and her strategic running of the nunnery. This is a book about female communities and power. Marie de France fights fiercely to strengthen the nunnery, which is a constant target of her patroness Eleanor and the powerful men who want to strip the nunnery of its riches. Matrix is beautifully written and completely absorbing.
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My reading experience with this book was much like the author's in writing it. I thought, "Why would I want to read a novel about a nun in the Middle Ages?" But, there's some kind of alchemy that Groff does that makes what could be a boring story fascinating.

Matrix is a fictionalized account of Marie de France, a nun and confidant of Eleanor of Aquitaine who was a crusader and grew to lead a convent. Through Groff's book, we get to see Marie as a very human, flawed person who, though an inspired and forward-thinking leader, is also a woman of pride and lustful longing. She us forced into a convent to be silenced by the crown, yet, through guts, determination, and guidance from God, reverses the fortunes of the convent, making it solvent and leading her charges through famine and plague.

In showing her readers the day-to-day life of Abess Marie, Groff illuminates Medieval life, with its challenges of cleanliness, food, shelter, and finances, making history real and relatable. Far from frilly historical fiction, Matrix is at once educational and enveloping.
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America's best prose stylist is back and better than ever. Matrix is a journey that grows more intense and more convoluted as it evolves, but we never lose track of where we are in the story, so rooted is it in the perspective of its central character, Marie de France. Historical fiction is not what we've come to expect from Groff, but we should know by now that she never does anything half-assed and its obvious how much work went into rendering this world. On the surface, however, its sleek and supple, with sentences that you could sit with for hours.
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