Synopses & Reviews
A dazzling novel of Frank Lloyd Wright, told from the point of view of the women in his life
Having brought to life eccentric cereal king John Harvey Kellogg in The Road to Wellville and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in The Inner Circle, T.C. Boyle now turns his fictional sights on an even more colorful and outlandish character: Frank Lloyd Wright. Boyle's account of Wright's life, as told through the experiences of the four women who loved him, blazes with his trademark wit and invention. Wright's life was one long howling struggle against the bonds of convention, whether aesthetic, social, moral, or romantic. He never did what was expected and despite the overblown scandals surrounding his amours and very public divorces and the financial disarray that dogged him throughout his career, he never let anything get in the way of his larger-than-life appetites and visions. Wright's triumphs and defeats were always tied to the women he loved: the Montenegrin beauty Olgivanna Milanoff; the passionate Southern belle Maud Miriam Noel; the spirited Mamah Cheney, tragically killed; and his young first wife, Kitty Tobin. In The Women, T.C. Boyle's protean voice captures these very different women and, in doing so, creates a masterful ode to the creative life in all its complexity and grandeur.
"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 Wright's 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 novel's centerpiece is Taliesin, Wright's Oz-like Wisconsin home. The tragedies that befall Taliesin fires, brutality serve as proxy for Wright's inner turmoil; his deeper stirrings surface only occasionally from behind Boyle's oft-overbearing depiction of Wright's 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 Wright's image, becomes the book's most dynamic character. It's a lush, dense and hyperliterate book in other words, vintage Boyle." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Wright —and...his greatest creation, Taliesin — is the Rorschach test through which we come to understand each woman and what she sees in this troubled — and troubling — man." Angela O'Donnell, America Magazine
"All of Boyle's colorful skills are fully engaged..." Kirkus Reviews
"Boyle doesn't just fiddle around with familiar biographical material. He inhabits the space of Wright's life and times with particular boldness..." New York Times
"Boyle at his best...love, not architecture, is the focus here...a mesmerizing story of women who invest everything, at great risk, in that mysterious 'bank of feeling' named Frank Lloyd Wright."
-The New York Times Book Review
"Boyle doesn't just fiddle around with familiar autobiographical material. He inhabits the space of Wright's life and times with particular boldness...Boyle isn't just a restorer. After gathering the information he'll use to get the motor of invention running, he goes on to create an array of indelible characters - eccentrics so absorbed in the expression of their passions that they fail to notice or care when their actions turn destructive...With his rollicking short fiction and with novels that include The Road to Wellville, The Inner Circle, and Drop City, Boyle has been writing his own fascinating, unpredictable, alternately hilarious and terrifying fictional history of utopian longing in America. The Women adds a powerful new chapter to this continuing narrative."
-The New York Times Book Review
Praise for Mrs. Hemingway
***A Harpers Bazaar (UK) Best Book of 2014***
***A Stylist Magazine (UK) Best Book of 2014***
“Magnetic… assembles a satisfying puzzle of personalities, bringing each relationships beginning, end and overlap into vivid focus.”
—Leisl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review
“Wood has given us a fascinating, astutely observed, gorgeously written account of the Hemingway wives and their charismatic, enigmatic, troubled and troublesome husband. This is a gem of a book.”
—Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
“Naomi Woods absorbing, illuminating novel offers fascinating portraits of four extraordinary women and the tortured literary genius who loved them. If you thought you knew all there was to know about Ernest Hemingways wives, their passions, and their heartbreak, think again.”
—Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincolns Dressmaker and Mrs. Lincolns Rival
“It takes an unusual skill to keep someone reading a story to which they think they already know the ending. But Mrs. Hemingway is so beautifully written, and evocative, that I could not put it down until the last page.”
—Jojo Moyes, New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
“With remarkable insight and boldness, Naomi Wood brilliantly takes on one of historys most remembered writers and the women who loved him. Obsessively readable, fascinating, and heartbreaking, Mrs. Hemingway captures a time and people in a style the legend himself would no doubt admire.”
—Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingways Girl
“Forget everything you thought you knew about Ernest Hemingways four wives. In a quartet of searing interlocked portraits, Naomi Wood brings vividly to life the real women who loved and lost the legendary charmer and great writer. Mrs. Hemingway is a luminous heartbreaking novel. Wood is a writer to watch.”
—Ellen Feldman, Orange Prize-shortlisted author of Lucy
“A detailed and deeply affecting account of the complex relationship between love and work.” —Ian Sansom, author of The Case of the Missing Books
“It's superb, everything about it - the sentences, details, dialogue, but also the architecture, the way it's built. It flirts with all thats already known, but the women feel real and fresh, and through their eyes so does Hemingway.”
—Andrew Cowan, author of Pig
“Luminous, intoxicating…A passionate novel based on real lives, full of betrayals and moments of heartbreaking intimacy as Wood gives four remarkable women star billing.”
—Marie Claire (UK)
"Readers who enjoyed Loving Frank and The Paris Wife will adore this ideal summer read. Seamlessly blending known facts with fiction, Mrs. Heminway is an absorbing, tender glimpse inside the lives of those in Hemingway's inner circle."
“Well researched . . . interesting . . . [and] cleverly done.”
—Literary Review (UK)
“Exquisitely written, the Mrs. Hemingways finally have their say in this beautiful novel.”
—Stylist Magazine (UK)
“A beautiful read and an amazing insight into the life of the man . . . superb.”
“Very occasionally, a piece of fiction based on facts is so good that I catch myself thinking: ‘Oh, so thats how it really was. Wood achieves this in this breathtakingly good look at the lives of Ernest Hemingways four wives . . . . Sublime.”
—The Bookseller (UK)
Having brought to life eccentric cereal king John Harvey Kellogg in The Road to Wellville and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in The Inner Circle, Boyle now turns his fictional sights on an even more colorful and outlandish character: Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Paris Wife
was only the beginning of the story . . .
Paula McLains New York Timesbestselling novel piqued readers interest about Ernest Hemingways romantic life. But Hadley was only one of four women married, in turn, to the legendary writer. Just as T.C. Boyles bestseller The Women completed the picture begun by Nancy Horans Loving Frank, Naomi Woods Mrs. Hemingway tells the story of how it was to love, and be loved by, the most famous and dashing writer of his generation. As each wife struggles with his mistress for Ernests heart, and a place in his bed, each marriage slips from tenderness to treachery. Each Mrs. Hemingway thought it would last forever. Each one was wrong.
Told in four parts and populated with members of the fabled Lost Generation”including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott FitzgeraldMrs. Hemingway interweaves the love letters, diaries, and telegrams of four very different women into one spellbinding tale.
The Paris Wife
was only the beginning of the story . . .
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
Paula McLains New York Timesbestselling novel piqued readers interest about Ernest Hemingways romantic life. But Hadley was only one of four women married, in turn, to the legendary writer. Just as T.C. Boyles bestseller The Women completed the picture begun by Nancy Horans Loving Frank, Naomi Woods Mrs. Hemingway tells the story of how it was to love, and be loved by, the most famous and dashing writer of his generation. Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary: each Mrs. Hemingway thought their love would last forever; each one was wrong.
Told in four parts and based on real love letters and telegrams, Mrs. Hemingway reveals the explosive love triangles that wrecked each of Hemingway's marriages. Spanning 1920s bohemian Paris through 1960s Cold War America, populated with members of the fabled "Lost Generation," Mrs. Heminway is a riveting tale of passion, love, and heartbreak.
About the Author
T. Coraghessan Boyle was born and raised in New York's Hudson Valley and now lives near Los Angeles. He is the author of several novels and short story collections. His 1987 novel, World's End, won the PEN/Faulkner Award.