Monday, July 27, 2009


Pages: 451
Date: 27/07/2009
Grade: 4-

This book was well written and the story, a fictionalized version of Frank Lloyd Wright's life and the women in it, was fascinating.
But, and as the grade of 4- indicates there had to be a but, there were a few things that let the book down for me.
First of all, I don't know why the book had to be narrated by one of Lloyd Wright's apprentices, and one from Japan at that. This narrator was only present in the architect's life for a relatively short while, and had personal knowledge of only one of the women of the title (if he is a real person at all). So it is not as if personal observations by him shed more light on the goings on.
And, connected to this, the footnotes the book is littered with, made this a less than smooth read. Especially since a lot of the footnotes dealt with the narrator's life, feelings, observations, interpretations and experiences in America. For me these added nothing to the story. In fact, they distracted me from the main story.
Another thing that didn't work for me was that the story went backwards in time. So the book starts with Lloyd Wright's last relationship with Oglivanna, to be followed by the one with the mad woman who was Miriam. The last part of the book tells the story of Mamah and Kitty.
I'm sure T.C. Boyle had a good reason for wanting to tell this story backwards, but I can't imagine what that reason may have been. And although it may not be an issue for anyone already fully aware of the Lloyd Wright story, for me knowing the end of a part of a story before actually starting to read it, spoilt too much of it.
Still, this would be an interesting and well written book for anyone wanting to know more about Frank Lloyd Wright's personal life. Just don't expect to like the man very much by the time you finish reading.

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