Bookmarks & Inkblots



Mission Statement:

Virginia Living strives to highlight Virginian authors who were born here as well as those who have decided to call the commonwealth home. We also endeavor to promote some of the best Southern Writing around. Homegrown authors like William Styron, Edward P. Jones, Ann Beattie, Claudia Emerson, and Tom Robbins join literary legends like William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, and Mark Twain (among others obviously) and rub elbows with their Southern contemporaries—such as Cormac McCarthy, Barbara Kingsolver, Charles Frazier, Jesmyn Ward, and Tayari Jones (etc. etc. etc.).


We also want to show our support for local bookstores: Chop Suey Books in Richmond, Peach Street Books in Cape Charles, McKays Used Books in Manassas, Old Town Books in Alexandria, The Bookery in Lexington, Too Many Books in Roanoke, 2nd Act Books in Charlottesville, and so many more. Furthermore, we are teaming up with bookstore employees as well as graduate students from Virginia university programs to publish online reviews twice a month.


We are currently reviewing: prose, poetry, and nonfiction.


Book News


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by Lauren Groff

2021 / Riverhead Books / 260 pp / $28.00

Within the first pages of Lauren Groff's Matrix, we discover that we are dealing with a rebel. No, worse: a female rebel! “Why should babies be born into sin, why should she pray to invisible forces?” Well, for a medieval character, this fictional substitute for poet Marie de France expounds a lot of radical theological ideas developed in the 20th century. As some may recall from their Sunday school days, in Genesis, God destroyed humanity’s architectural aspirations in the form of the Tower of Babel because they were trying to attain the heights of heaven. Set in the 12th century Angleterre (England), Matrix follows Marie as she makes her own biblical tower of sorts—in a splendidly sacrilegious way.

A monster of a woman (unattractive, manly, a giantess), Marie comes to an impoverished abbey as a seventeen-year-old girl, discarded from the court of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (her half-sister). But though her exterior may be rough, her interior is beautiful and strange—smart, intelligent, kind, compassionate, ambitious. And once she is settled into her position at the convent, things start to change—the tower begins to be built.


Full review: HERE

Bio: Lauren Groff is a two-time National Book Award finalist and The New York Times–bestselling author of three novels, The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia, and Fates and Furies, and the celebrated short story collections Delicate Edible Birds and Florida. She has won The Story Prize, the PEN/O. Henry Award, and been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work regularly appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and elsewhere, and she was named one of Granta’s 2017 Best Young American Novelists. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and sons.

Lauren Groff


Winning Writers