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The Women

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  7,534 ratings  ·  1,298 reviews
A dazzling novel of Frank Lloyd Wright, told from the point of view of the women in his life

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'
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Hardcover, 451 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility; I chose arrogance.” --Frank Lloyd Wright

 photo FrankLloydWright_zps99d459e6.jpg
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
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Abby
I really wanted to like this book because I like the subject matter of Frank Lloyd Wright. However, it seems like TC Boyle merely read several biographies of Wright and then compressed them into loosely fictionalized vignettes in this novel.

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
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Chrissie
This book covers the relationships between Frank Lloyd Wright and four very important women in his life. Three were married to him and the fourth died before they could become husband and wife. The book is about conjugal relationships, about one man but four very different women. Three of the four relationships are thoroughly covered, but his first wife with whom he had six children, less so. After reading this book you also understand the architect too. I rank him as a great artist but at the s ...more
Kata
I like T.C. Boyle. I really do. Look up, I gave him two stars. You can't tell I like him, can you?

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
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Jeff
An absolutely terrific book – well-researched, consummately written, and addictively readable! I really feel Boyle is at his best when he writes biographical fiction; "The Women" is a wonderful addition to an already astounding canon of his bio-inspired work, which includes "The Road to Wellville" and "The Inner Circle."

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
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Melinda
The Women by TC Boyle has an extremely interesting premise: tell the story of the love lives of Frank Lloyd Wright through an uninterested third party. The narrator brings nothing to the story and is beyond superfluous. The narrator also makes use of a lot of footnotes that do nothing except break up the overall storytelling. Relying heavily on footnotes is a very lazy way of writing. The reader has to stop in the middle of sentences and look up the tiny print footnotes and it completely takes o ...more
Justin
In his new work, "The Women," the endlessly imaginative novelist T.C. Boyle sets his sights on the gifted architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a larger-than-life figure whose colorful exploits seem an ideal fit for Boyle's love of protagonists both epic and flaky (see "The Road to Wellville," "The Inner Circle" and many 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
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J. Lynn
I couldn't put it down; it was totally mesmerizing. But the events of the last part were so incredible, so horrifying and so fascinating (and horrifying!! have I mentioned horrifying?!) that it's hard to even remember the rest. It makes me wonder if it would have been possible to have written this book without the One Event totally eclipsing the rest of the novel.
Laura
Holy superfluous adjectives, this book was tedious. This was my second attempt to read it, I realized when I started. Last time, I returned the print edition about two chapters in. This time, I made it about 3/4 through an audio book only because it was the background to a days-long painting project.

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
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Ann
I've come to the conclusion that I'm just a wimp when it comes to books about FLW. I know what the ending will be, and as I approach the final pages, I find myself reading slower and slower, putting off the inevitable. The same thing happened with Loving Frank. Maybe it's because I've been to Taliesen, plus my MIL grew up near Spring Green and has her own stories about Wright and crew. Since I don't have to expend any effort visualizing the setting, I can let my imagination run wild visualizing ...more
Cammy
I really didn't like this book. Maybe too much Frank Lloyd Wright at one time...but the style of writing was just not inviting for me. The author used annoying footnotes throughout the book to explain inconsequential things about the stories of the 4 women who FLW was in love with at various times in his life. It was distracting and also relayed information that wasn't at all necessary to the story, in my opinion. Some of the facts were interesting...but overall, "Loving Frank" was a much better ...more
Sketchbook
An early Christmas gift : just the kind of bolloxed & boring (best-seller, natch) contempo novel I detest. Say bye-bye to Taliesin, Mamah ghost, poor battered soul. O, the gush of it all--.
Rose
The story of Frank Lloyd Wright's famously passionate love life is told last-woman-first. I wondered, momentarily, whether this was the right approach, since it pretty much eliminates suspense, but I suppose TC Boyle figured these scandals weren't exactly news anymore, and in this way he could reveal how every woman in Wright's life was somehow a reaction to the one who came before. This is a novel told in circles within circles rather than backward motion into the past, and it makes clear how e ...more
Talia Carner
Frank's women problems....

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
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Megan Chance
I have always really really liked T.C. Boyle. I loved "The Inner Circle," and "Riven Rock," and "The Road to Wellville." I was hoping I would like "The Women" that much. I didn't, though I did ultimately like it. Boyle is a great writer--he has a way with description, dry humor, and emotional complexity. Settling in with him is like settling in with an old and beloved friend. I have always found his writing of the emotional landscape of women very real. But this book, which is about the women in ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

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
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Diane
The structure of The Women, is both its strength and its weakness. In writing this fictionalized account of Frank LLoyd Wright's wives, lovers, and lovers who became wives, T.C. Boyle drops the reader right into the middle of Wright's life. However, it's not Wright's life that Boyle shines the spotlight on. By using a Japanese young man, an architect in training who has come to Taliesin to study with Wright, as a narrator, Boyle keeps a distance from the story that serves to make the events ring ...more
Catherine  Mustread
Jan 15, 2011 Catherine Mustread rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catherine by: Melissa K (Telegraph);NYT 1/29/09
Fictional biography of the women in architect Frank Lloyd Wright's (1867-1959) life -- mother, sister, wives, mistresses, but primarily Olgivanna his third wife, Miriam, mistress and later second wife, and Mamaw an early feminist who was his mistress and the cause of his leaving his first wife. The tangled domestic life and lack of personal financial savvy, not to mention the extreme egomania, also give great insight into the famous architect.

I loved the way Boyle used the introduction of each s
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Sharyl
The Women, by T.C. Boyle, is a novel that depicts the relationships the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright had with four women in his life. Boyle creates a narrator for this saga, one Sato Tadashi, a young man from Japan who reveres the famous architect and has come to Wisconsin to be one of Wright's apprentices at Taliesin.

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
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Ryandake
a friend lent me this book, for which i am glad--i'm glad i didn't spend any money on it.

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
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Mbarkle
I read this immediately after reading Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, and it almost read as a continuation of that book. Both are about the love affairs of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

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
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Bookmarks Magazine

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

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Lisa
Meh.

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
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Orrin Laferte
I dislike Frank Lloyd Wright. He used groupies to pay his bills when he had lost his edge. He used needy women who wanted to be someone to meet his social and sexual needs. He sold a school of architecture that he ignored and charged each participant based on their ability to pay.

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
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Joy H.
I read the first part of this book, _The Women_, but it began to drag. So I stopped reading. I appreciate T.C. Boyle's style of writing, but lost interest after a while in this particular book describing the life of Frank Lloyd Wright. I enjoyed Boyle's novel, _The Tortilla Curtain_", but I found that _The Women_ wasn't as compelling.

On the other hand, I enjoyed Nancy Horan's _Loving Frank A Novel_, another book about Frank Lloyd Wright.
Lisa Nelson
This book had some real bright spots, and it was especially interesting after reading, "Loving Frank." My problem after reading these couple works of historical fiction about FLW: I am not loving Frank. I appreciate his work as an architect, but he is an arrogant little man. It was difficult to dedicate as much time as I did to a book with only a small amount of likable characters.
Tema Merback
I will read anything T.C. Boyle writes. He is one of our most eminent authors who never fails to deliver a brilliant read. I also never read one of his books without a dictionary close at hand as he has the most amazing command of the english language. Great to learn the history and life of an American icon, Frank Lloyd Wright, through the eyes of the women he loved.
Teri
I appreciate Frank Lloyd Wright and, because I am a docent at the last remaining hotel he designed, I am always looking for additional information about his life and architecture. It is interesting to me that a man who was so arrogant, so single-minded, so inept in financial matters, would attract women the way he did. Women who were fascinating in their differences and intriguing in their attraction to this man. Given that scenario, I was looking forward to reading Boyle's novel. The most distr ...more
Els
Tadashi Sato is architect in ruste als hij eind jaren zeventig terugkijkt op het turbulente leven van de buitenissige Amerikaanse architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) bij wie hij vijftig jaar eerder in de leer was. Deel 1 van deze driedelige ‘fictieve biografie’ begint met de komst van de Japanse student bouwkunde in zomerhuis Taliesin in Wisconsin waar de grote meester woont, werkt en zijn studenten opleidt. In de plattelandsgemeenschap met zijn kleinburgerlijke moraal is Wright (of Wrieto- ...more
Robin Cicchetti
As a fan of the Prairie Style of architecture developed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the little I knew of his complicated personal story, this has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I finished it, but was disappointed.
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
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My interview with TC Boyle 4 48 Aug 24, 2012 04:00PM  
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T. Coraghessan Boyle (also known as T.C. Boyle, born Thomas John Boyle on December 2, 1948) is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Since the late 1970s, he has published eleven novels and more than 60 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his third novel, World's End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York. He is married with three children. Boyle has been a Distinguis ...more
More about T.C. Boyle...
The Tortilla Curtain Drop City The Road to Wellville The Inner Circle Talk Talk

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“This was what he was born for. This was what made sense. The only thing.” 5 likes
“constellations hanging overhead in the rafters of the universe” 3 likes
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