Sterlingcindysu's Reviews > Triangle

Triangle by Katharine Weber
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Aug 25, 10

Read from August 20 to 25, 2010

** spoiler alert ** A great story in such compact writing. There's really 2 stories, the one about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, which I really don't know much about, and the other about the composer who creates music based on DNA--I think that could have been a stand alone novel by itself. So much research, not just on the fire and music, but also Yiddish, Huntingdon's disease, etc. I kept thinking, I need to look up this word, but I didn't want to stop reading. Perhaps I'm slow, but when Esther repeats her testimony over and over, it wasn't until near the end that I saw the discprencies.

The only thing that didn't make sense to me was when the researcher left the cat out on the windowsill, perhaps I was missing something or it was just to break up the tension. Cute cover, the idea that you're "unbuttoning" the truth (or buttoning it up depending how you look at it.)

(spoiler) I think the reason why Pauline took the money was payback for being raped, not for her testimony.

(copied review) Esther Gottesfeld is the last living survivor of the notorious 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire and has told her story countless times in the span of her lifetime. Even so, her death at the age of 106 leaves unanswered many questions about what happened that fateful day. How did she manage to survive the fire when at least 146 workers, most of them women, her sister and fiancé among them, burned or jumped to their deaths from the sweatshop inferno? Are the discrepancies in her various accounts over the years just ordinary human fallacy, or is there a hidden story in Esther’s recollections of that terrible day? Esther’s granddaughter Rebecca Gottesfeld, with her partner George Botkin, an ingenious composer, seek to unravel the facts of the matter while Ruth Zion, a zealous feminist historian of the fire, bores in on them with her own mole-like agenda. A brilliant, haunting novel about one of the most terrible tragedies in early twentieth-century America, Triangle forces us to consider how we tell our stories, how we hear them, and how history is forged from unverifiable truths. Wrote The Music Lesson
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message 1: by Katharine (new)

Katharine Pauline's payback -- yes. But also, she took the "hush" money because Jacobs was the one person who could have identified her, baby and all.

The cat on the windowsill: not everyone out on a high ledge has to die.


message 2: by Sterlingcindysu (last edited Sep 05, 2010 07:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sterlingcindysu D'oh, I forgot that Jacobs could have done that, or that it was even an issue from any of the surviving girls/workers. A major point and I missed it. The sisters looked like twins but anyone working with them day in and day out would have known the difference. Pauline was with the survivors for a month so some had to have known her switch (and obviously at that point the cover-up). I wondered why no one said out loud (during the testimony or afterwards) why would Sam kiss his financee's sister before jumping? But if Jacobs proved Pauline's perjury, she would have been jailed and his "problem" would be solved, so maybe he wasn't the mustache twirling villian I pictured.

I was going in the opposite direction with the cat on the ledge with the comment about cats don't always land on their feet. I figured there was some connection to the fire, maybe the difference between jumping/falling (intent) or cats not panicking.

Thanks for the thunks to the head. BTW, the idea of music set to your DNA is riveting.


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