The Book(s) of Love No. 14: The Women by T.C. Boyle


“In love.  As if he would know anything of love.  As if he hadn’t trampled all over the memory of what they’d had together these past twenty years and pulled it up by the roots, so absorbed in his work – in his self – he hardly gave her a glance anymore, treating her like a servant and the children like strangers, a collective irritant and nothing more.  Love?  She was the one who knew love and loved him still, loved him in spite of herself, loved him so fiercely she wanted to leap to her feet and tear his hair out, gouge his eyes, batter him.”


Frank Lloyd Wright and I share a birthday, so I’ve always felt a bit of a kinship with him.  He was not, however, the best man to work for or to be in love with… Yet, somehow, he managed to attract 4 women to him, relationships which lasted years.  There may have even been more, but history is uncertain.  T.C. Boyle takes these four relationships and decides to weave the story of Frank’s middle years via them.  How anyone managed to love this man is mysterious to me, but love him these women did, and fight for him and over him they did.  Frank, meanwhile, seems to have been more in love with his magnum opus, Taliesin, than with just about any of these women in his life.  I’ll let you guess which woman says the quote above in the book, but I will tell you that the photo above is of Mamah Cheney, whose section of the novel is my favorite.


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