Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Women-T.C. Boyle

The Women
T.C. Boyle
Viking, Mar 28 2009, $31.95
ISBN: 9780670020416

Frank Lloyd Wright lived a life of triumph and defeat all in the public eye. Whether he designed a remarkable edifice like his Wisconsin home Taliesin or an affair he seemed bigger than life. Four women loved him though surely there were others: Montenegro dancer Olgivanna, Miriam the drug addicted Southern belle, Kitty the first wife; and Mamah the intellectual equal who was murdered.

Told mostly by Wright’s apprentice Japanese-American Tadashi Sato, this is an engaging biographical fiction. The story line looks at the great twentieth century architect through the musings of four females who loved him as each looks back at their relationship with him. Ironically, the show is stolen from the star and the titled characters by the narrator. Tadashi as the sole survivor is the only one whose opinion of Wright changes and whose wry thoughtful commentary throughout the novel add much of the complexity of trying to describe this multifaceted person; how complicated is symbolized by the remarkable Taliesin where much tragedy occurred.

Harriet Klausner

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