Matrescence | Penguin Allen Lane

A radical new examination of the transition into motherhood and how it affects the mind, brain and body

During pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood, women undergo a far-reaching physiological, psychological and social metamorphosis.

There is no other time in a human's life course that entails such dramatic change-other than adolescence. And yet this life-altering transition has been sorely neglected by science, medicine and philosophy. Its seismic effects go largely unrepresented across literature and the arts. Speaking about motherhood as anything other than a pastel-hued dream remains, for the most part, taboo.

In this ground-breaking, deeply personal investigation, acclaimed journalist and author Lucy Jones brings to light the emerging concept of 'matrescence'. Drawing on new research across various fields - neuroscience and evolutionary biology; psychoanalysis and existential therapy; sociology, economics and ecology - Jones shows how the changes in the maternal mind, brain and body are far more profound, wild and enduring than we have been led to believe. She reveals the dangerous consequences of our neglect of the maternal experience and interrogates the patriarchal and capitalist systems that have created the untenable situation mothers face today.

Here is an urgent examination of the modern institution of motherhood, which seeks to unshackle all parents from oppressive social norms. As it deepens our understanding of matrescence, it raises vital questions about motherhood and femininity; interdependence and individual identity; as well as about our relationships with each other and the living world.

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Reviews for Matrescence:

The best book I've ever read about motherhood ... Myths are smashed from page one ... Experimental flourishes - alongside all that beautiful, accessible writing - add to its majesty. Matrescence is essential reading, bloody and alive, roaring and ready to change conversations -- Jude Rogers ― Observer

I kept scribbling in the margins: 'We need to know this stuff!' ... An important addition to the literature of motherhood ... [It is] wide-ranging in its scope, packed with statistics about mental health, new studies on the rewiring of women's brains after childbirth and the presence of foetal cells in our bodies ... Jones seems to come as close as it's possible to describing this indescribable moment in a woman's life -- Joanna Pocock ― Spectator

A wild and beautiful book ... a book that will be passed among friends and will no doubt bring solace ... Reading this, I felt a jolt of recognition ... more than six years later I can still feel the searing, silencing shame. I wish someone could have handed me Matrescence -- Sophie McBain ― New Statesman

An exploration of the contrast between myth and reality and between individual and social expectations ... Jones writes beautifully and with searing honesty about the life-changing physical and emotional impact of having a child -- Rachel Sylvester ― The Times

A vital, hopeful book ... to read Matrescence is to emerge chastened and ready for change -- Marianne Levy ― i Paper

Beautiful and creative ... Jones is a pioneer ... she skilfully elucidates the monumental shifts motherhood brings ... I found myself inwardly cheering -- Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett ― Guardian

Matrescence took me on a journey of reminescence through my own pregnancies and early years of motherhood, eliciting wry recognition, surprise at new evidence and insight, and gratitude for a work that really sees what it is to mother - Clare Chambers

This book should be a must-read for pretty much everyone. We don't talk about the hidden realities of the biological, social and psychological effects of matrescence nearly enough. Thank you, Lucy Jones, for changing that - Dr Jodi Pawluski

Hypnotic, fascinating and long overdue. I am so glad it exists. A gift of a book and told beautifully - Laura Dockrill

Matrescence is the book I've been waiting for. It feels like a gift. Radical, questioning and profound, it urges us to recognise and honour the many transformations of motherhood.
With the deepest compassion for her fellow mothers, Lucy Jones shows us how contemporary society stacks the odds against them and calls us to imagine new ways of parenting which care for and support those at its heart - Liz Berry

You'll marvel, wince and want to take to the streets after reading Lucy Jones sweeping and courageous multidisciplinary survey of the motherlands. I wish we'd read it before we had our kid. (Mother) nature read in truth and awe - Tom Mustill

A beautiful contemplation of the extraordinary yet ordinary metamorphosis that adult humans undergo as they become mothers. I was entranced. Jones's lyrical, compassionate exploration of the ever-shifting boundaries of selfhood that evolved within our interconnected biosphere, confronts today's societal demands for individual autonomy, culminating in a passionate and powerful maternal roar for change. Wonderful - Gaia Vince

I was challenged, comforted, educated, nourished, soothed and reassured by this book. Almost three years into my own matrescence, this book is the single most powerful, life-changing, heartachingly healing thing I have been given. For it is, first and foremost, a gift. To have journeyed , and still be journeying, through this wild, raw, many coloured land of such unknowns, and to share that journey-the pain and the joy; the grief and love; the anxiety and the hope - in this way is nothing short of grace. This book is the kind of book we must ensure every one of us reads; every single person sharing this earth side by side with our kin of every form. For, as Lucy shows us so tenderly and luminously; we are more finely interwoven than we've been led to believe; more animal than we might ordinarily take ourselves for. Certain experiences change us, bring us closer to the blood and shit and milk and bone. Matrescence holds the power to carry us back to ourselves, to the rituals and community from which we came; the caregivers we all hold the seed within us to become- and Lucy Jones is the person who should have written it. I am so glad she did . She has given us mammals such a gift, one that will save lives - Kerri ní Dochartaigh

A beautiful, intelligent book that is as tender and moving as it is demanding and urgent. There is something insightful and original in the way Lucy Jones seamlessly combines the analytical with the emotional, and it is an absolutely essential new addition to the literature of mothering and parenthood - Clover Stroud


Losing Eden | Penguin

Losing Eden was published by Allen Lane / Penguin Press in March 2020. The paperback is published February 27 2021. It's about the relationship between the natural world and the human psyche; a wide-ranging inquiry into the mechanism by which contact with 'nature' is therapeutic. It is long-listed for the Wainwright Prize and received a Society of Authors' award. The Times and Telegraph named it a book of the year (2020) and the paperback became a Times' bestseller (2021). It is published in German, Spanish, Italian and will soon be out in the United States and Estonia.

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Reviews for Losing Eden:

  • Wonderfully intoxicating.. In meticulous detail, Jones quests to bring us an impressive array of answers to the question of whether “nature connection” has a tangible effect on our minds, and how, and why?
    Irish Times
  • Beautifully written, research-heavy study about how nature offers us wellbeing… Jones unpicks the science in accessible, moving writing
    - Observer, Book of the Day
  • A passionate and thorough exploration of the growing scientific evidence showing why humans require other species to stay well - Guardian 
  • Earnest, painstakingly-researched...A heartfelt love-letter to the outdoors
    Daily Mail
  • Passionately written… lovely, descriptive writing style - The Times
  • Galvanising - The Independent
  • Her fascinating exploration of the new science of our connection to the natural world emphasises the untold psychological cost of environmental degradation and climate catastrophe. It is written in such lush, vivid prose that reading it – especially while marooned in a big city under lockdown – one can feel transported and restored - New Statesman
  •  A sympathetic interviewer and scrupulous journalist…a thorough, well-balanced report - The Spectator
  • Fascinating ... the connection between mental health and the natural world turns out to be strong and deep - which is good news in that it offers those feeling soul-sick the possibility that falling in love with the world around them might be remarkably helpful. And those who fall in love with the world might protect it, a virtuous cycle that would make a real difference in the fight for a workable planet - Bill McKibben, author of Falter; Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
  • Beautifully written, movingly told and meticulously researched, Losing Eden is an elegy to the healing power of nature, something we need more than ever in our anxiety-ridden world of ecological loss. Woven together with her own personal story of recovery, Lucy Jones lays out the overwhelming scientific evidence for nature as nurturer for body and soul with the clarity and candour that will move hearts and minds - a convincing plea for a wilder, richer world - Isabella Tree, author of Wilding
  • By the time I'd read the first chapter, I'd resolved to take my son into the woods every afternoon over winter. By the time I'd read the sixth, I was wanting to break prisoners out of cells and onto the mossy moors. Losing Eden rigorously and convincingly tells of the value of the natural universe to our human hearts. It's a simple message but Lucy Jones looks at it by using so many interesting and diverse ideas and places that it always stays vital. It is exciting, pertinent and elegantly written: I recommend it to anyone who makes decisions - Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun


The Nature Seed | Profile Books

The Nature Seed is a practical and philosophical guide for anyone with children in their lives. Full of the wonders of sharing the natural world with young minds, it's a manual for finding awe in the cracks of the pavement and magic on a stroll around the block. Creative, easy and free child-led activities to deepen the connection with the living world, from wild art to simple fires, potions, foraging and make-believe.

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Reviews for The Nature Seed:

  • A practical, no-nonsense guide to getting children back to nature ... Brilliant - Stephen Moss
  • A valuable practical guide to helping children form a kinship with nature
    - Independent


Foxes Unearthed | Elliott & Thompson

Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain was published by Elliott & Thompson in 2016.

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Reviews of Foxes Unearthed:

  • Jones's history of our complex relationship with the fox is revealing... to discover there was an 18th-century sport of 'fox tossing' almost makes this worth the purchase alone - John Lewis-Stempel, The Times Books of the Year 2016

  • Jones writes with real feeling about the hold of foxes on the human imagination, and her own deep affection for the beguiling creatures - Daily Mail

  • The fox has for centuries been held as the incarnation of such unlovely traits as deviousness, cunning and cruelty. ... However, the characteristic that emerges most strongly from the nature writer Lucy Jones's book about Vulpes vulpes is its ambiguity. ... [An] intriguing compendium of fox lore - Michael Prodger, The Times

  • A fantastic tour of the fox and us - Lucy Jones takes an intelligent, measured and humane look at the intimate, contradictory and occasionally crazy relationship between Homo sapiens and Vulpes vulpes - Patrick Barkham, author of Badgerlands and The Butterfly Isles

  • A foxy little book, offering a rich brew of nature and history and culture. An exemplary instance of fine research leading to balance and sanity on a subject usually lacking in either. Deeply enjoyable and informative - Sara Maitland, author of Gossip from the Forest: The Tangled Roots of Our Forests and Fairytales

  • Fascinating ... [a] well-balanced exploration of our tempestuous relationship - Country Life

  • Beautifully written and signals a conspicuous new talent ... She traces the place of the fox in our culture over many centuries - Daily Telegraph

  • A fascinating discussion of the history of our attitude to the fox ... it will almost certainly teach you something new - The Spectator

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