From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The genius of Frank Lloyd Wright was both magnetic and cruel, as evidenced by the succession of failed marriages and hot-blooded affairs depicted in this biographic reimagining that drills into Wright mythology and the dark shadows of the American dream. The narrative moves backwards in time through the accounts of four women in Wrights life: Olgivanna, the steely, grounded dancer from Montenegro; Miriam, the drug-addled narcissist from the South; Kitty, the devoted first wife; and Mamah, the beloved and murdered soul mate and intellectual companion. But the novels centerpiece is Taliesin, Wrights Oz-like Wisconsin home. The tragedies that befall Taliesin—fires, brutality—serve as proxy for Wrights inner turmoil; his deeper stirrings surface only occasionally from behind Boyles oft-overbearing depiction of Wrights women. The most engaging person is Tadashi Sato, the Japanese-American apprentice and narrator who emerges via his frequent footnotes as a complex reflection of Wrieto-san and, with his inability to remain objective and his evolving view of Wright and Wrights image, becomes the books most dynamic character. Its a lush, dense and hyperliterate book—in other words, vintage Boyle. (Feb.)
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Boyle�s latest novel takes on the architect Frank Lloyd Wright by examining his notoriously tumultuous relationships with four women, each unique in her own histrionic way. Narrated in reverse chronological order by a fictional Japanese apprentice, the book is extremely readable and deftly builds a portrait of the artist as pure egoist. Unfortunately, the novel avoids any sustained consideration of Wright�s relationship to his art�a passion arguably more important in forming his genius than any of the women in his life were. Still, it proves an effective showcase for Boyle�s own strengths as a craftsman. His prose is full of vivid descriptions and turns of phrase that pop with a preternatural precision.
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