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
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
Subscribe to the Week