The Vox Book Club spends October reading Lauren Groff’s Matrix


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Here’s a question for you: Would you like to read a book about medieval witch nuns creating a women-only separatist commune in 12th-century England, 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.

In October, the Vox Book Club reads Lauren Groff’s book Matrix, whose title does not refer to the franchise of action films but to the Latin word meaning mother or womb. Matrix revolves around the real Marie of France, the first French woman poet, of whom very little is known – leaving plenty of room for fiction to fill in the gaps.

Groff imagines Marie as a lanky and willful young woman who has followed the English queen Eleanor of Aquitaine from France to England. Rejected by Eleanor, Mary becomes an abbess in an isolated country abbey and ends up becoming a powerful political figure in her own right, transforming her abbey into an isolated refuge for the women she takes under her protection.

Matrix is a rich and beautifully written novel about ambition and desire, as well as medieval witch-separatist nuns. We will have a lot to discuss here on the site. Then at the end of the month, we’ll meet up with Groff live on Zoom to discuss all of this, 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 a thing.

Here is the complete Vox Book Club Hours by October 2021

Friday October 15: Discussion message on Matrix published on

Thursday October 28, 5 p.m .: Live virtual event with author Lauren Groff. You can RSVP here, and questions from readers are encouraged!


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