T.C. Boyle’s “best book in ages” is the second novel in two years to make hay of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s complicated romantic life, said Mark Schechner in The Buffalo News. But the wiseguy author of The Road to Wellville knows how to put his own stamp on a story. This time he describes the parade of women in Wright’s life in reverse chronological order, writing with particular gusto about the great man’s second wife, Miriam, a morphine-addicted beauty who fascinated the press and terrorized Wright after he threw her over.
But Boyle makes Miriam a “ridiculous” figure, said Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times. In fact, all four of Wright’s lovers in this book come off as “self-dramatizing whiners or divas” rather than complex characters. Boyle has turned a fascinating true story into “a small, cheesy, paint-by-the-numbers soap opera.”
Maybe it’s better not to know much about the real characters, said John Freeman in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. Boyle’s aim is to capture the “rolling storm front” an egotist can create in his determination “to live outside conventions.” The novel’s “troubled, tough-minded” women easily overshadow the man at the storm’s eye.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to make corn dogs
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week