It's a Big Day!
The Read With Us "reveal!"
For the first time in Read With Us history, I've already read the book we chose . . . so I am confident it'll make for a GREAT book group discussion. (In fact, I can't wait to talk about this one with you.)
First of all, separate this title from the movie franchise with the same name (almost - the book title does not include "the"). You won't find Neo, Trinity, or Morpheus in these pages. But you will find . . . witchy feminist medieval nuns! When you first read the description of this quite marvelous book, you may be turned off by phrases like . . . "12th century," "impoverished abbey," "convent," and "French poetry." But I encourage you to Read On!
I wasn't sold on this book myself when I first heard about it, but my ears perked right up when it made the National Book Award long list. And then I read a reader-review on Goodreads that described Matrix as “medieval girlboss fantasia” -- and I couldn't resist. In fact, now that I've read the book, I can’t get that phrase out of my head. Because, yeah. That’s it exactly. Author Lauren Groff creates a fictional history for Marie de France (a real-life figure) that treats her as a superhero (as much as 12th century nuns can be superheroes ), able to battle hunger, poverty, and disease in male-dominated medieval society. And - let me tell you - it totally works.
There is no doubt that Groff’s imaginative and creative invention of a history -- for an actual woman-of-history with no history -- makes for an excellent read. Beautiful prose, a brilliant sense of place and time, and fascinating characters put this novel in the well-worth-reading category. It’s original and thought-provoking with layers of complexity -- and it will make an excellent book group selection.
We'll be talking more about the book and providing some background information throughout November. Then . . . mark your calendars now for our blog book discussions AND a Zoom discussion on Tuesday, January 11 (7:00 pm Eastern time; Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel). That gives you plenty of time to get your hands on the book -- and Read With Us . . . right on through the holidays!
(Besides, who doesn’t like to imagine a small society of like-minded individuals walling themselves off from the flames of the world outside? "Medieval girlboss fantasia" indeed!)
Previous Read With Us book selections:
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Fever by Mary Beth Keane
I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller