Having brought to life eccentric cereal king John Harvey Kellogg in The Road to Wellville and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in The Inner Circle, T.C. Boyle now turns his fictional sights on an even more colorful and outlandish character: Frank Lloyd Wright. Boyle's account of Wright' ...more
Frank Lloyd Wright
Tadashi Sato abandoned his studies and his life in Japan to come to America, more specifically Wisconsin, to study with his hero Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright had a fascination with Eastern culture, in particular their paintings, so it wasn’t hard for Tadashi to get one of the coveted apprenticeships. As I read this book I thought it was truly remarkable that ...more
The narrator's voice is probably the most confusing and least attractive aspect. The narrator's voice is presumably that of a Japanese foreign exchange student who works as an apprentice at Frank Lloyd's Wright's Midwestern Taliesin -- this is revealed in th ...more
When you are fond of an author it seems to me that every time you purchase a subsequent book by that author (new release or old) you feel assured that your precious book money is being spent very wisely. People make all sorts of investments. I wonder if most of us on Goodreads consider our books the most scrutinized and cherished investments we make in our lives. It's true of me anyway. Screw my st ...more
This new novel tells the interwoven stories of the women in Frank Lloyd Wright’s life -- steadfast and obstinate Kitty Tobin Wright; erratic and opiate-addicted Miriam Noel; dis ...more
Boyle's rendition of Wright strides about with appropriate ferocity, "a repository of playfulness and merriment ... that only underscored the magnetism of his genius" yet "famous ...more
Sure, Boyle can craft a gilded curlicue of a sentence with fleur de lis and a cherry on top, requiring both a dictionary and a map to find your way out of it. A well placed sentence like that I can ...more
Frank Lloyd Wright was a genius who changed the way we think of architecture--and execute it. But his free spirit that allowed him to break the rules, also caused him to flaunt other traditions and to clash time and again with the mores of his time.
Narrated through the Japanese apprentice, Boyle can also step back and give the reader detailed expositions that would have been otherwise clumsy when telling the stories of each of Frank's women. With a strong prose and sur ...more
Back in 2007 when I first started doing book reviews on a regular basis, one of the first older titles I tackled was by the magnificent T.C. Boyle, because of him being almost a textbook example of the type of author perfect for this site's "Tales from the Completist" series -- he has a wide range of books ...more
I loved the way Boyle used the introduction of each s ...more
Even though this is a novel, and Tadashi is an invented character, almost all the events depicted in this book are known to be true. I found Boyle's way of expandin ...more
in this book, the purported aim is to tell the story of frank lloyd wright's many wives and mistresses from their point of view. yay! sounds pretty interesting, doesn't it? but alas, what we readers get instead is a long, dreary, misogynist fairy tale in which all the women eventually turn out to be hags.
ok, now, fair questions: maybe all those women really were hags? maybe wright just picked 'em unstable, i ...more
This book starts with a section about his 3rd wife Olgivanna, the second section tells the story of his 2nd wife, Miriam, and the third section is about Mamah, his first mistress, and the subject of Horan's book. It's narrated by a Japanese draftsman/apprentice, which serves the function of pointing out cultural iron ...more
T. C. Boyle has written many biographical novels, but critics weren't sure that this effort fully succeeds. All agreed that Boyle is a graceful stylist whose writing, noted the Washington Post, "will reward you in the last scene of this altogether predictable and (sometimes deliciously) overwrought novel." While mostly adhering to the facts, melodramatic it is. That didn't seem to be the major problem, though. Many reviewers thought that the fictional narrator Tadashi Sato, writing a biography o...more
I didn't care what happened to a single person in this book -- except maybe Kitty, the first wife, who was hardly mentioned in comparison to the sections devoted to the women FLW replaced her with.
I found FLW to be a pompous jerk and it is inconceivable to me why these women put up with his irresponsibility in both his personal & professional lives. The attitude that the rules of society (or marriage) don't apply to the the elite, the gifted is odious, and the idea that to love being a h ...more
I dislike T. C. Boyle's writing style because it meant more to him to create a literary novel than a readable novel. He wanted to be James Joyce. His incessant artistic and literary references are pretentious and unnece ...more
On the other hand, I enjoyed Nancy Horan's _Loving Frank A Novel_, another book about Frank Lloyd Wright.
The third party narration was a bizarre choice. Told by a former Japanese apprentice, Tadashi Sato, yet written at the distance of decade's by Tadashi's granddaughter's husband (an American named O'Flaherty)it is unclear if this is meant to be a formal memoir, or the memor ...more