Monday, March 2, 2009

"The Women" - T.C. Boyle

Longtime readers of the Books for Breakfast blog know of my obsession with three authors: John Irving (whose work I have memorized and could write a dissertation on the symbolic nature of snails), Steven Pressfield (because he writes a battle scene like no other), and T.C. Boyle. Why Boyle? Because he has rarely written something that doesn't evoke strong emotions.

In THE WOMEN (now that I'm dealing with more manuscripts, I'm finding it necessary to change my writing - so, sorry for the new all-cap feature of the blog... have a cocktail on me), his writing continues the trend, though I felt angry through most of the book. Angry at these women of Frank Lloyd Wright's (yes, the architect), angry at Wright, angry at the glorification of Wright. But that was Boyle's purpose, I believe. As he stated while writing this book, this was another one of his historical series of egomaniacs.

Traveling backward through the women, we learn of the mistresses and wives who support the "genius" of Frank. However, what kind of woman throws away her husband, her children, her life for this obsessed man? I believe that is the question Boyle asked himself as he wrote this, using many biographical (and Wright's autobiography) books to supplement his own ideas.

However, Boyle is biased. He lives in the first Wright house built in California. He appreciates the mastery of the craft. Still, this bias is rarely shown - to my surprise - except when proclaiming its 100th anniversary in 2009.

I like books that make me ponder, returning to my mind as I wash dishes or shovel wood into the stove. While I may have appreciated the book (note no "liked" or "loved" or "adored"), I don't think it's for everyone. What does this book say about women in our time, as well as the finger-pointers who thrive on righteousness? Based on this novel, not much has changed.

3.75 out of 5.0 Fish House Punches.

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