T Coraghessan Boyle
I have wanted to read a book by TC Boyle for quite some time. I have Drop City on my shelves, but as is often the case, just because I buy a book doesn’t mean I’ll read it–or at least not in a timely manner! I also loved Nancy Horan’s book Loving Frank, also about Frank Lloyd Wright and his love life, so when I saw that TC Boyle had written The Women, also about Frank Lloyd Wright and his love life, I knew it would a perfect read for me.
Loving Frank deals with Wright’s tragic love affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney. It also involves some information about Wright’s first wife Kitty. The Women is more all-encompassing. Again it involves little information about Kitty (which left me wanting more in that regard, despite the already long length of this tome) but it also went into Frank’s relationships with his second and third wives.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Quite a selfish man–whether this is fictional or not, it was present in both The Women and Loving Frank. And the fact of the matter is that Wright was willing to leave his first wife Kitty and his numerous children with her to gallivant around with his mistress. Basically, my idea of Wright after reading both of the aforementioned fictional books about him is that he was a selfish man with little respect for the dollar. In The Women, he was quoted as saying something about his theory that one should buy luxuries first because the necessities would follow.
Catherine “Kitty” Wright
Married to Frank Lloyd Wright from 1889-1922. They had six children together and Kitty was married to Wright throughout his entire affair with Mamah Cheney. She refused to grant him the divorce he yearned for until after Cheney had died at Wright’s Wisconsin home Taliesin I. She was given very little notice in either Loving Frank or The Women.
Mamah Borthwick Cheney
Cheney and Wright began their love affair while Wright was designing and building a home for Cheney and her husband Edward. They escaped together to Europe–Mamah abandoned her husband and two young children in order to live with Wright. Their relationchip ignited a maelstrom of news activity and Wright eventually built Talisin I in Wisconsin as a sanctuary for the two lovers. During the summer of 1914, Mamah and her two children were butchered to death by a disgruntled servant, who set Taliesin on fire and killed some other workers as well.
Maude Miriam Noel Wright
Miriam and Wright met after she wrote him a letter of her condolences after the death of Mamah. She is painted as a vindictive and somewhat psychotic woman in The Women. She and Wright were about the same age and were finally able to marry in the early 20’s after Kitty consented to a divorce. She eventually left Frank but they remained married as he began his relationship with his third wife, Olgivanna.
Olga Ivanovna Wright
Olgivanna met Wright as a young mother. She divorced her first husband and was eventually married to Wright after he was granted a divorce from Miriam. However, before they were able to marry, Olgivanna and Wright had a daughter, Iovanna. Once again, Wright’s romantic escapades cast him inthe public limelight. Taliesin II (built after the original was destroyed during the murder of Mamah Cheney) was burned substantially at this time as well and again rebuilt. Olgivanna and Wright remained married until Wright’s death in 1959.
The Women was a wonderfuly woven story that fascinated from beginning to end. Wright was an intriguing man whose romantic endeavors are almost unbelievable