The Women (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
After writing novels about the lives of two other great American iconscereal entrepreneur John Harvey Kellogg in The Road to Wellville (1993) and sex guru Alfred C. Kinsey in The Inner Circle (2004)T. Coraghessan Boyle takes on the personal life of architectural giant Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) in The Women. Boyle, known for his entertaining style and quirky, dark humor, has also authored nine other novels plus eight collections of short stories. The Women might have posed Boyle’s biggest challenges and may be his greatest achievement so far. While offering Boyle’s usual attractions, The Women encompasses much moredeepened character studies, an excursion into tragedy, challenging questions about relationships between men and women, and superb narrative structuring for maximum effect.
Boyle structures The Women as imaginatively and daringly as Wright designed such creations as the gravity-defying Fallingwater or the circular Guggenheim Museum. He treats, in reverse chronological order, four women with whom Wright cohabited: Part 1 is titled “Olgivanna,” part 2,“Miriam,” and part 3, “Mamah.” Significantly, Wright’s first and least interesting wife, Kitty, does not get a full portion of the novel devoted to her. A conventional suburban housewife and mother of six who was only a teenager when they married, Kitty figures prominently only early in “Mamah.” The novel’s structure...
(The entire section is 1918 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
America 200, no. 10 (March 23, 2009): 30-32.
Booklist 105, no. 5 (November 1, 2008): 5.
Kirkus Reviews 76, no. 24 (December 15, 2008): 1266.
Library Journal 133, no. 20 (December 1, 2008): 108.
The New York Times, January 27, 2009, p. 1.
The New York Times Book Review, February 1, 2009, p. 1.
The New Yorker 85, no. 3 (March 2, 2009): 71.
Publishers Weekly 255, no. 46 (November 17, 2008): 37-38.
The Spectator 309, no. 9419 (March 7, 2009): 32-33.
The Times Literary Supplement, March 6, 2009, p. 19.
The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2009, p. W8.
(The entire section is 57 words.)