A “riveting” (Wall Street Journal) portrait of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the women in his life – 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Wright’s birth
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 incomparable account of Wright's life is told through the experiences of the four women who loved him. There's the Montenegrin beauty Olgivanna Milanoff, the passionate Southern belle Maude Miriam Noel, the tragic Mamah Cheney, and his young first wife, Kitty Tobin. Blazing with his trademark wit and inventiveness, Boyle deftly captures these very different women and the creative life in all its complexity.
The genius of Frank Lloyd Wright was both magnetic and cruel, as evidenced by the succession of failed marriages and hot-blooded affairs depicted in this biographic reimagining that drills into Wright mythology and the dark shadows of the American dream. The narrative moves backwards in time through the accounts of four women in Wright's life: Olgivanna, the steely, grounded dancer from Montenegro; Miriam, the drug-addled narcissist from the South; Kitty, the devoted first wife; and Mamah, the beloved and murdered soul mate and intellectual companion. But the novel's centerpiece is Taliesin, Wright's Oz-like Wisconsin home. The tragedies that befall Taliesin fires, brutality serve as proxy for Wright's inner turmoil; his deeper stirrings surface only occasionally from behind Boyle's oft-overbearing depiction of Wright's women. The most engaging person is Tadashi Sato, the Japanese-American apprentice and narrator who emerges via his frequent footnotes as a complex reflection of "Wrieto-san" and, with his inability to remain objective and his evolving view of Wright and Wright's image, becomes the book's most dynamic character. It's a lush, dense and hyperliterate book in other words, vintage Boyle.
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Frank Lloyd Wright book
This is almost 2 books in one. There is an apprentice architect Japanese narrator who introduces the chapters, but the introductions stretch on much longer than one would expect and almost form a separate book. Then there is the story of Frank Loyd Wright and his three wives and one mistress. He’s a very mercurial character, to be sure. Lots of new info here, astonishing really.
Crushed when it ended
This historical fiction is so rife with brilliant use of language, written in a "circle" that is nothing short of genius . Frank Lloyd Wright was not someone I had any kind of interest in. I have found myself absolutely fascinated by his life and loves.
This is an excellent piece of work, well worth reading. Boyle has woven an intricate, masterful reversed-time tapestry that brings Frank Lloyd Wright and the women in his life alive in an intimate and questioning manner.