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  • Published: 14 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781785151910
  • Imprint: William Heinemann
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $35.00

Matrix

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER




NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2021

'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
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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.
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'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

  • Published: 14 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781785151910
  • Imprint: William Heinemann
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $35.00

About the author

Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff is the author of three New York Times bestselling novels – Fates and Furies (named by Barack Obama as his favourite book of 2015), The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia – as well as the story collection Delicate Edible Birds. She graduated from Amherst College and has an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Groff’s fiction has won the Pushcart Prize and the PEN/O. Henry Award, among others, and has been shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 2017, she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Her stories have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, the Atlantic,One Story and Ploughshares, and in several of the annual TheBest New American Stories anthologies. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and two sons.

Also by Lauren Groff

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Praise for Matrix

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

Emma Donoghue

Luminous, divine, her masterpiece

Daisy Johnson

Transcendent prose and vividly described settings bring to life historic events, from the Crusades to the papal interdict of 1208. Groff has outdone herself with an accomplishment as radiant as Marie's visions.

Publishers Weekly

An audacious piece of storytelling, full of passion, wisdom and magic

Sarah Waters

How mesmerising can twelfth century nuns be, even in the hands of Lauren Groff? I had barely started it before I was bloody well blaspheming with delight. Matrix is a gorgeous, sensual, addictive read.

Sara Collins

No doubt a mini-series beckons

Catholic Herald

Groff offers a world that is rapturous, rapacious, ecstatic, profane; a novel of seismic revelations.

Eley Williams

Matrix explores the story of Marie de France, a young woman sent to languish in a struggling convent that she begins to transform through her own leadership. 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, author of The Vanishing Half

Matrix is alive with lust and glory. In the incandescent Marie de France - visionary, cantankerous and uncowed by the constraints of her sex - Groff paints a portrait of sisterhood that shines out of the past and into the lives of women today.

C Pam Zhang, author of Booker-longlisted How Much of These Hills is Gold

Animated with sensual detail on every page and filled with lush, gripping storytelling that cuts to the bone, MATRIX resonates right into the present moment. I never thought I would find myself longing to be a medieval nun but Groff is a worker of wonders. This book is a ferocious joy

Madeline Miller

Lushly textured and uniquely vivid, Matrix settles itself on your mind like a dream or vision - it's absolutely stunning

Sophie Mackintosh

In Lauren Groff's hands, the tale of a medieval nunnery is must-read fiction

Washington Post

In these incandescent pages, Groff reverently imagines her way into the life and lore of Marie de France . . . Woven from Groff's trademark ecstatic sentences and brimming with spiritual fervor, Matrix is a radiant work of imagination and accomplishment

Esquire

Thrilling and heartbreaking, Groff crafts an electric work of historical fiction

TIME, Most Anticipated Book of the Fall

A transportive and meditative tale that will swallow you up from the very start

Newsweek

Groff, a premier stylist . . . .continues to grow, taking on a medieval foremother's story in her latest novel. The voice she finds for Marie de France . . . .will hold readers fast as the exiled Angevin royal becomes abbess of a convent, leading her charges through historic upheavals

LA Times

With her unparalleled gift for sumptuous, sublime prose, Groff paints an engrossing portrait of a woman who, despite living in a world bound by constraints, experiences a life rich with passion and creativity. Surrounded by a supportive sisterhood, Marie uses strength and ingenuity to subvert the oppression of the patriarchy

Atlanta Journal Constitution

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

Utterly absorbing

Vogue

It's a bold, luminous tale that captivates from first to last.

Mail on Sunday

Lauren Groff's Matrix is just marvellous; vivid and vibrant, it hums with the lives of those contained within the convent walls, as Marie becomes the ambitious and canny hub at the heart of this female utopia.

Daily Mail

Splendid with rich description and period vocabulary, this courageous and spin-tingling novel shows an incredible range for Groff (FLORIDA, 2018), and will envelop readers fully in Marie's world, interior and exterior, all senses lit up. It is both a complete departure and an easy-to-envision tale of faith, power, and temptation.

Booklist

Enchanting and intriguing, Matrix absorbs the reader into the medieval period without compelling them to depart entirely from the present

iNews

This is a remarkable novel: unusual, profound, transcendental

Evening Standard

From the moment you're introduced to Marie, a queer, fierce warrior woman riding across the countryside on her warhorse, you feel as though you've time-travelled back to the Middle Ages. Groff's prose is arresting and unforgettably visceral . . . It's impossible not to feel galvanised by Marie's resilience, independence and determination to make her mark in a world ruled by men. I'll be thinking about Matrix for a long time to come

Stylist, Novel of the autumn

Groff's writing is muscular and precise, her themes wildly resonant. Women are dismissed and contained, subject to misogynist attacks and abuse, but gain power collectively - "alone, together". Shockingly, this message is as poignant today as it was, perhaps, 800 years ago

Sunday Times

A dazzlingly clever tale . . . gorgeously precise prose, always elegantly weighted and perfectly economical

The Times

In this bildungsroman about the real-life 12th-century poet Marie de France, a teenage Marie is exiled to a blighted Benedictine nunnery, where she finds strength and power as a prioress

Vanity Fair

Powerful, sapphic historical novel . . . Richly realized with historical details that don't overwhelm

BuzzFeed

Readers will recognize her stunning prose and grand, mythic perspective. . . . in a tale that feels both ancient and urgent, as holy as it is deeply human

Entertainment Weekly

The pages are almost completely devoid of men - seen, but not heard - with Groff using poetic, melodic and yet fierce writing to breathe volume into themes of power, ambition and success from the perspective of women

Press Association

I loved this accomplished piece of storytelling. So much so, I added it to my Booker wish list at the last minute, a wish not fulfilled, of course

A Life In Books

Matrix is a rich, beautifully written novel about ambition and desire, and also witchy separatist medieval nuns

Vox

Medieval life can seem far from our modern grasp, but Groff vividly describes the daily workings of the convent, from prayers to practical chores. She has done her research and it shows in the rich details she provides of working the fields, preparing meals, governing novices . . . magical, a beautiful evocation of what women can achieve and what they can mean to each other

NY Journal of Books

[A] feminist foray into a medieval nunnery that is stunning in its labyrinthine artistry and sensual tracing of life as lived during the era of the poet Marie de France and the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine

Lit Hub

Feverishly exhilarating stuff

Chicago Tribune

Through Marie, Groff explores how a society's religious and gendered constraints can be turned on their head to create a utopia

The New Yorker

Must-read

HuffPost

A[n] artful writer, Groff has no need for fantastic artifice to construct a world without men. She . . . gives us an extraordinary protagonist . . . Anyone who has read Groff's previous novels and stories knows that this author's greatest virtue is her economy of prose. A disciplined writer . . . If "Eleanor's best currency is story," that goes double for Groff . . . Groff's "Matrix" simultaneously transports us to a backward world that once was and the grim future that seems inevitable. And all this through the eyes of a group of extraordinary women who decline to live lives of quiet desperation

Gainesville Sun

[A] propulsive, enchanting, and emotionally charged read

Washington Independent Review of Books

[A] transcendently beautiful novel with sensuality, religious ecstasy, gender and power explorations, and a fair bit of tasteful gore. It's surprisingly delicious to read fiction about a historical figure we know so little about

Shondaland

I'm on page 17 and now nothing else matters . . . Once you have this book in your hands I feel certain you too will be consumed

Sarah Jessica Parker

[D]reamy prose . . . At its heart, the book's message is simple: joy can exist in darkness

Popsugar

A clever spin on the story of Marie de France

Bustle

Richly imaginative

AP

Mesmerizing and inspiring

Newsday

Matrix is another masterpiece from a writer whom few at this point can best

The Atlantic

[A] relentless exhibition of Groff's freakish talent . . . an unforgettable book . . . ecstatic, refulgent, God-struck, heretical

USA Today

[A] creative, intelligent work that will last

Boston Globe

[A]n electric reimagining . . . feminist, sensual, magisterial, de France's saga is one of hardship and triumph, an unforgettable character whose far-seeing vision and devotion to the nuns in her community enable them to transcend what threatens to erase and silence them

Oprah Magazine

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