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Here is a question for you: Would you like to read a book about witchy medieval nuns creating a separatist women-only commune in 12th-century England and then writing poetry and bathing in lakes at night?
If your answer is no, well, I must urge you to reconsider. But if your answer is yes, welcome! Do I have a book for you.
This October, the Vox Book Club is reading Lauren Groff’s Matrix, the title of which refers not to the action movie franchise but to the Latin word for mother or uterus. Matrix revolves around the real-life Marie de France, the first French female poet, about whom very little is known — leaving plenty of room for fiction to fill in the gaps.
Groff imagines Marie as a gawky, willful young woman who followed English queen Eleanor of Aquitaine from France to England. Spurned by Eleanor, Marie becomes an abbess at a secluded country abbey and eventually rises to become a powerful political figure in her own right, turning her abbey into an isolated safe harbor for the women she takes under her protection.
Matrix is a rich, beautifully written novel about ambition and desire, and also witchy separatist medieval nuns. We’ll have plenty to discuss here on the site. Then, at the end of the month, we’ll meet with Groff live on Zoom to discuss the whole thing, and you can join us. RSVP here, and in the meantime, subscribe to the Vox Book Club newsletter to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Here’s the full Vox Book Club schedule for October 2021
Friday, October 15: Discussion post on Matrix published to Vox.com
Thursday, October 28, 5 pm: Virtual live event with author Lauren Groff. You can RSVP here, and reader questions are encouraged!