For awhile now, I have been looking for a book about utopias. Or a maybe a book about a utopia. One that didn’t go bad for whatever reason – usually because it turned into a cult or maybe it ran out of oxygen. You can make an argument that dystopia is a utopia that has gone wrong somehow. And god knows the last few years in America have felt like a dystopia that there’s no escape from.
I don’t know that Matrix set out to create a utopia; it’s a story about a competent woman who gets to a convent in the 1100s and starts running it well. She puts people who are good at things in charge of those things. She invests in making sure the nuns have enough food to eat and that the people in the community around them are taken care of. And it works! She does it! The women take care of themselves and others and do a good job of it. They fight off men who think they must be up to something nefarious. They navigate political waters. The main character fights off potential usurpers.
What does it say about me that a well-run organization looks like a utopia? Or about the society I live in that a place where everyone is fed and housed and clothed and gets some time to themselves every day feels like an unreachable utopia?
Whatever. I needed Matrix in my life right now. You may enjoy it for its mystical Christian content – it is a book about Marie de France after all – or you may enjoy it because it is Lauren Groff writing incredibly well. I, personally, needed a story that was about someone making things work and work well and that basically told men to go away.
Matrix was great. Recommended to anyone who likes to read about competent people being competent.