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A Matrix of Angels is a harrowing, beautifully written novel of love, loss, and the fierce power of memory.
Posted August 23, 2011
"A Matrix of Angels" is one of those hard to pin down books. It has a murder with some mystery surrounding it, at least where the protagonist, Frances Pastan, is concerned. But the mysteries are more concerned with understanding events surrounding the murder and coming to terms with them than they are about finding the killer, who is identified mid-book. It isn't a murder mystery. It has some traumatic childhood experiences that need to be understood and worked through, yet it isn't a coming of age story. Despite not being either of these, it is also a book with plenty of appeal for fans of those genres. However, if I were forced to categorize, it has to go in one of the catchall categories, either literary or contemporary fiction.
While superficially a success, Frances' life is in shambles. In revisiting a life-changing and traumatic time that she has long repressed , she is able to understand the events that led to her current situation. Going through this, Frances is almost practicing self-psycho-therapy, which will possibly set her on the road to a better place. Going through this exercise with Frances, the reader may glean some insights into human nature; the novel gives us a better understanding about how past events can both inspire us in positive ways and drag us down if we let them.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **