Chrissie's Reviews > The Women

The Women by T.C. Boyle
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's review
Jan 17, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: art, bio, downpour, 2015-read, hf, love, relationships
Read from January 13 to 17, 2015

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 same time would absolutely NEVER want to be married to him. You can love what a person creates but not the person himself. You can love some characteristics and hate others. Frank Lloyd Wright is a complicated figure. This book covers a huge quantity of facts, the details of his life, and weaves them into a story that depicts how the women in his life reasoned and felt. It is this that constitutes the fictional element of the book. Dialogs and emotions can for the most part only be guessed at.....but they correspond well to the known facts. This kind of fiction makes dry biographical events into a moving, emotional story. Each relationship feels strong and real and all-engulfing. And at points horrifyingly gripping. I assume you know of the murders.

I wish the book hadn't jumped around between different time periods. To say that it starts at the end and goes backwards in time is wrong too. It flips back and forth, and I cannot for the life of me see any advantage in doing this. Most people who want to read this book do want to complete it with a clear understanding of Wright’s life. I have read other books so I didn't tackle the subject from scratch, but still I went and read Wiki too. There are many different families that get disrupted by one man's love affairs. Many children and discarded wives and husbands. To keep all the names straight is hard enough without jumping around in time.

Excellent narration by Grover Garner. I never felt he "overdid" the words of the book. The reading is rapid, and not even this bothered me! He captured the feel of the events. I have to remark though that the Swedish feminist Emily Key is pronounced Emily "kay" not "key"! There was one very funny point where a reporter had a stuffed nose. I was laughing, the guy sounded like he was sorely plagued by nasal congestion.
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Reading Progress

02/24/2014 marked as: to-read
11/08/2014 marked as: wishlist-b
12/27/2014 marked as: read
12/27/2014 marked as: own-unlistened
01/13/2015 marked as: currently-reading
01/17/2015 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Love his writing, good review Chrissie.

message 2: by Greg (new)

Greg Good review Chrissie!

Chrissie Thanks! There is so much I would like to say about Frank Lloyd Wright... but then it is better to read the book.

Evelyn Glad you liked it!

message 5: by Chrissie (last edited Jan 17, 2015 11:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Evelyn, I certainly did! I find FLW a fascinating person and Boyle an exceptionally talented writer.

I don't like ALL of his architecture but love Falling Water. I am not so hip on the stained glass windows. The front halls can be dark. I found out when I was searching the net that the railroad station in Nikko was in fact NOT designed by him. This was a fabrication begun by the tourist agency there. Still it is a beautiful building. I must admit it doesn't really fit his style at all. I love Japanese art, as he did. I think it was clever how Boyle had the narrator being a Japanese apprentice - a way of incorporating more Japanese influence.

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