Lanier's Reviews > Triangle

Triangle by Katharine Weber
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's review
Jun 01, 2009

liked it
Read in June, 2009

Ruined wine!
Great Historical Fiction piece beginning with the great sweatshop Triangle Factory Fire of 1911 where few survived as 146 burned alive, asphyxiated or jumped, knowingly to their deaths from the upper storeys of machinists and garment workshops.

“[…:] but it was like running towards the flames and it probably didn’t seem right to go towards the fire and all the black smoke to get away, but that’s how a lot of people got out from this building in one way or another, running into the fire to get through…” (pages 7-8— fiction character’s—Esther Gottesfeld’s—“actual” accounts give this authenticity)

Reading this reminded me of one of my favorite Chaka Khan songs, “Through the Fire”, a testament to doing just that, surviving through the most difficult of times or circumstances. However, while Khan’s is a metaphor, Gottesfeld’s accounts are closer to many citizens’ more recent Twin Tower chronicles. These two are all too vivid reminders of preventable manmade atrocities. And speaking of music…

Pg 18-Music
“He (George) learned to keep his music silent after that. Smells and colors, street lights, words clouds, the thud of the newspaper hitting the front porch, the lumpy seams in the toes of his socks, everything and anything always stirred musical patterns in his mind. How sad that most other people didn’t seem to have their own music at all.”

One of my best grade-school friends, Gunther, was never into music. I always mourned for him and others like him who were unmoved by the notes of instruments or the lyrics or melody of songs. Now I can’t say I recognize or I’m as sensitive to sounds and their musical qualities as George Botkin, here, but I can never fully comprehend how things so beautifully transcendent can NOT be felt nor understood by some. There is rhythm in many things, many are NOT musical, yet there are connections to these rhythms such as life and death, love and hate and dozens more.

One of the funniest passages--
"They looked at each other for a long moment, and Rebecca felt her tears welling up yet again as another wave of grief swept over her. George put his arm around her while reaching with the other for an oatmeal cookie."

June 6-09
Another great quirky character, Ruth Zion, is making things more interesting in this unusual novel.

June 9
Like others have written, "This work just doesn't add up." "Great idea that falls short."
With all this said already, I particularly loved the last musical piece described. Aside from having heard this story for its FIFTH time, whose pages could've been better used to connect more dots or fulfill the intrigue that Weber began. Unfortunately, it's like she simply FORGOT the threads she was weaving. The connection between the son's "accident" and his true father's relationship? The irony of the "daddy-dearest" dying the same way. All of Ruth's questions/hypothesis were NOT answered and I feel cheated. At first I hated the science behind the music, then I got into it, then it sort of left us hanging with "we learned we shared a strand of DNA, so that's why that piece was never released-too personal." WHAT???

Once again, great historical basis that really should have been allowed to age. Ruined wine!

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