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הסתר הודעה

  ניווט ראשי
Matrix
תמונה של  Matrix
Matrix
A Novel
מאת Lauren Groff
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2022 JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2021

Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, NPR, The Financial Times, Good Housekeeping, Esquire, Vulture, Marie Claire, Vox, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today and more!

“A relentless exhibition of Groff’s freakish talent. In just over 250 pages, she gives us a character study to rival Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell .” – USA Today


“An electric reimagining . . . feminist, sensual . . . unforgettable.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

“Thrilling and heartbreaking.” –Time Magazine
“[A] page-by-page pleasure as we soar with her.” –New York Times

One of our best American writers, Lauren Groff returns with her exhilarating first new novel since the groundbreaking Fates and Furies.


Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.
At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie’s vision be bulwark enough?
Equally alive to the sacred and the profane, Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. Lauren Groff’s new novel, her first since Fates and Furies, is a defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2022 JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2021

Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, NPR, The Financial Times, Good Housekeeping, Esquire, Vulture, Marie Claire, Vox, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today and more!

“A relentless exhibition of Groff’s freakish talent. In just over 250 pages, she gives us a character study to rival Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell .” – USA Today


“An electric reimagining . . . feminist, sensual . . . unforgettable.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

“Thrilling and heartbreaking.” –Time Magazine
“[A] page-by-page pleasure as we soar with her.” –New York Times

One of our best American writers, Lauren Groff returns with her exhilarating first new novel since the groundbreaking Fates and Furies.


Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.
At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie’s vision be bulwark enough?
Equally alive to the sacred and the profane, Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. Lauren Groff’s new novel, her first since Fates and Furies, is a defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.
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  • From the book

    One

    1.

    She rides out of the forest alone. Seventeen years old, in the cold March drizzle, Marie who comes from France.

    It is 1158 and the world bears the weariness of late Lent. Soon it will be Easter, which arrives early this year. In the fields, the seeds uncurl in the dark cold soil, ready to punch into the freer air. She sees for the first time the abbey, pale and aloof on a rise in this damp valley, the clouds drawn up from the ocean and wrung against the hills in constant rainfall. Most of the year this place is emerald and sapphire, bursting under dampness, thick with sheep and chaffinches and newts, delicate mushrooms poking from the rich soil, but now in late winter, all is gray and full of shadows.

    Her old warhorse glumly plods along and a merlin shivers in its wicker mew on the box mounted behind her.

    The wind hushes. The trees cease stirring.

    Marie feels that the whole countryside is watching her move through it.

    She is tall, a giantess of a maiden, and her elbows and knees stick out, ungainly; the fine rain gathers until it runs in rivulets down her sealskin cloak and darkens her green headcloths to black. Her stark Angevin face holds no beauty, only canniness and passion yet unchecked. It is wet with rain, not tears. She has yet to cry for having been thrown to the dogs.

    Two days earlier, Queen Eleanor had appeared in the doorway of Marie's chamber, all bosom and golden hair and sable fur lining the blue robe and jewels dripping from ears and wrists and shining chapelet and perfume strong enough to knock a soul to the ground. Her intention was always to disarm by stunning. Her ladies stood behind her, hiding their smiles. Among these traitors was Marie's own half sister, a bastardess sibling of the crown just like Marie, the sum of errant paternal lusts; but this simpering creature, having understood the uses of popularity in the court, had blanched and run from Marie's attempts to befriend her. She would one day become a princess of the Welsh.

    Marie curtsied clumsily, and Eleanor glided into the room, her nostrils twitching.

    The queen said that she had news, oh what delightful news, what relief, she had just now received the papal dispensation, the poor horse had exploded its heart it had galloped so fast to bring it here this morning. That, due to her, the queen's, own efforts over these months, this poor illegitimate Marie from nowhere in Le Maine had at last been made prioress of a royal abbey. Wasn't that wonderful. Now at last they knew what to do with this odd half sister to the crown. Now they had a use for Marie at last.

    The queen's heavily lined eyes rested upon Marie for a moment, then moved to the high window that overlooked the gardens, where the shutters were thrust open so Marie could stand on her toes and watch people walking outside.

    When Marie's mouth could move, she said, thickly, that she was grateful to the queen for the radiance of her attention, but oh no she could not be a nun, she was unworthy, and besides she had no godly vocation whatsoever in any way, at all.

    And it was true, the religion she was raised in had always seemed vaguely foolish to her, if rich with mystery and ceremony, for why should babies be born into sin, why should she pray to the invisible forces, why would god be a trinity, why should she, who felt her greatness hot in her blood, be considered lesser because the first woman was molded from a rib and ate a fruit and thus lost lazy Eden? It was senseless. Her faith had twisted very early in her childhood; it would slowly grow ever more bent into its...

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 21, 2021
    Groff (Florida) fashions a boldly original narrative based on the life and legend of 12th-century poet Marie de France. After Marie is banished to a poverty-stricken British abbey by Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine at age 17 in 1158, she transforms from a reluctant prioress into an avid abbess. With the rhythm of days and nights regulated by the canonical hours from Lauds to Prime, from Compline to bed, Marie reshapes the claustrophobic community into a “self-sufficient... island of women,” where “a woman’s power exists only as far as she is allowed.” To that end, she confesses a series of 19 beatific visions that guide her in designing an impenetrable underground labyrinth as a secret passageway to the convent, building separate abbess quarters, establishing a scriptorium, and constructing a woman-made lake and dam to insure a constant water supply. Groff fills the novel with friendships among the nuns, inspirational apparitions, and writings empowered by divine inspiration. 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. Agent: Bill Clegg, the Clegg Agency.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2021
    Set in early medieval Europe, this book paints a rousing portrait of an abbess seizing and holding power. After the spicy, structurally innovative Fates and Furies (2015), Groff spins back 850 years to a girl on a horse: "She rides out of the forest alone. Seventeen years old, in the cold March drizzle, Marie who comes from France." The inspiration is a historical figure, Marie de France, considered the first woman to write poetry in French. Groff gives her a fraught, lifelong, sexually charged tie to Eleanor of Aquitaine. A matrix, which comes from the Latin for mother, builds implacably between Eleanor and Marie. But in the first chapter, the queen rids the court of an ungainly, rustic Marie by installing her in a remote English convent, home to 20 starving nuns. The sisters hang the traveler's clothes in the communal privy, where "the ammonia of the piss kills the beasties"--the lice. After a long sulk, Marie rouses herself to examine the abbey's disastrous ledgers, mount her warhorse, and gallop forth to turn out the family most egregiously squatting on convent land. News spreads and the rents come in, "some grumbling but most half proud to have a woman so tough and bold and warlike and royal to answer to now." The novel is at its best through Marie's early years of transforming the ruined, muddy convent, bit by bit, into a thriving estate, with a prosperous new scriptorium, brimming fields, and spilling flocks, protected by a forest labyrinth and spies abroad. In this way, Marie forestalls the jealous priests and village men plotting against her. Readers of Arcadia (2012), Groff's brilliantly evocative hippie commune novel, will remember her gift for conjuring life without privacy. And she knows a snake always lurks within Eden. The cloister witnesses lust, sex, pregnancy, peril. Marie has visions of the Virgin Mary, 19 in all, but these passages stay flat. Medieval mystics, unsurprisingly, write better about mysticism. The gesture toward a lost theology based on Marie's visions amounts to weak tea. Groff's trademarkworthy sentences bring vivid buoyancy to a magisterial story.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from August 1, 2021
    In the twelfth century, former child crusader and "bastardess heir to the crown" of France and England, "poor illegitimate Marie from nowhere in Le Maine," at age 17 arrives at the crumbling, dismal abbey where she will live, and which she will transform completely, during the many remaining years of her life. Considered unmarriageable for her great height and lack of beauty, and an overall burden, Marie was sent to save the abbey by Queen Eleanor, who prides herself on the brilliant move despite Marie's strong resistance to it. As Marie, who knows her own greatness, softens to her new surroundings, readers learn the goings-on of the abbey and its environs and get to know the nuns. When, decades later, Marie ascends to abbess, the sisters become her daughters, who respond with fear and inspiration to Marie's increasingly ambitious building plans for the abbey based on her visions of the Virgin Mary. Splendid with rich description and period vocabulary, this courageous and spine-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. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans have been prepped for Groff's first novel since the mega-best-selling Fates and Furies (2015).

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from January 7, 2022

    On its surface, Groff's new work is a fairly sharp departure from her last novel, Fates and Furies. Where that earlier work employed a bifurcated story structure to build immense complexity into its narrative of both a marriage and its individual human halves, her latest is an architecturally cleaner effort, fitting for a novel constructed upon the quotidian toil of an early medieval abbess. Taking as its inception the life of Marie de France, a 12th-century Francophone poet about whom materially little is known, this imaginative fiction finds its subject as a 17-year-old cast out of Eleanor of Aquitaine's court and made prioress of an impoverished, rural abbey in England. From here, Groff builds her novel around movements in Marie's life, alternating between acceleration and deceleration, sometimes moving through decades in a short number of pages and in other sequences pausing to plumb certain transformative periods at length, taking advantage of the period setting and language to flex her powers as one of today's preeminent prose stylists. The result charts a more languorous course than the author's usual work, but this patient, nonplussed, page-to-page experience belies the novel's gripping cumulative force. Despite initial appearances, then, Groff's latest is indeed something of a dual narrative: that of a formidable, ceaseless woman and a powerful sisterhood shaped in her shadow. VERDICT Both epic and intimate, this powerful and sneakily complex record of womankind's collective strength and industry in a world pitched against them is bolstered by Groff's rich, fertile prose.--Luke Gorham

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Matrix
Matrix
A Novel
Lauren Groff
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