skein's Reviews > Triangle

Triangle by Katharine Weber
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Aug 01, 09

bookshelves: 3-star
Read in July, 2009

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for stories of avoidable disaster, and the Triangle Factory fire in 1911 was nothing if not avoidable. Many that's why I liked this? It is something like a conceptual novel - and the writing almost always falls flat under the weight of One Good Idea - but not in this case. There is a large amount of repetition - the same long story is told at least five separate times - but the plot (such as it is.) centers - rotates - around memory and loss and grief and love, and each time we read the story again, it has a different meaning - because the truth, as we know it, has changed in some way. (Or look on it as post-traumatic-stress-disorder: the mind re-visiting the scene of a trauma.)

And this is a terrible review - I can't just describe this accurately without giving it away. But just like with The Little Women, also by Weber & which I happened to read on the same day as Triangle, I enjoyed this far more than a meagre three stars - but maybe I just like repetitive slow-moving stories with a trace of mystery that center around easily avoidable disasters which affected a disproportionate amount of poor young immigrant women in the early 20th century and the present-day research methodology that falls into Feminist Pits as it attempts to understand the intersection of memory on past and present, please add something about conceptual music. - But my enjoyment doesn't necessarily have much to do with how good the book is. And I must be true to the star honor rating!

(Okay, it's how-to-predict-disaster-time: don't give the fire department ladders that go up to the top of the building! Hmm, but wasn't that because the ladders were too heavy (at that length) to be stable? Those poor immigrant girls. Grrls. Women. Womyn.)
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