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The Women

The Women

3.4 108
by T. C. Boyle, Be Announced To (Read by)

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Frank Lloyd 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 he never let anything get in the way of his larger-than-life appetites and visions. Told through the experiences of the four women who loved him, this imaginative account of Wright’s


Frank Lloyd 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 he never let anything get in the way of his larger-than-life appetites and visions. Told through the experiences of the four women who loved him, this imaginative account of Wright’s raucous life blazes with Boyle’s trademark wit and invention. 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.

Editorial Reviews

A Selection of Barnes & Noble Recommends
A revelatory view of a genius creator, his wives and his lovers….

In this dazzling historical novel, master architect Frank Lloyd Wright comes alive through the words of four women he loved. Their voices are radically dissimilar: Montenegrin ballerina Olgivanna Milanoff; tempestuous southern belle Maud Miriam Noel; free-spirited, tragically fated Mamah Cheney; and artist Kitty Tobin, Wright's first wife. In The Women, adventurous novelist T. C. Boyle (The Road to Wellville; The Inner Circle) exposes Wright's deep-seeded resistance to convention in every arena of his life.
Marie Arana
The Women is an altogether manic, occasionally baffling and yet strangely riveting novel…Boyle is a marvel at descriptive prose…So you go on, from scene to scene, marveling at a turn of phrase or some well-articulated emotion. As with a fickle lover, it's the words that keep you there.
—The Washington Post
Joanna Scott
Boyle doesn't just fiddle around with familiar biographical material. He inhabits the space of Wright's life and times with particular boldness…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, and it is Boyle at his best. It is 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
Publishers Weekly

Rising and falling in steady rhythm, soothing even when the story unsettles and surprises, Grover Gardner's voice is a fine instrument. He delivers a stellar rendition of Boyle's reimagining of Frank Lloyd Wright's tortured relationships with his wives and lovers-and his obsession with Taliesin, his home in Wisconsin, which suffered no less than the architect or his women. Gardner, a regular prize-winner who's done more than 650 audiobooks, is familiar to audio listeners, but he strikes new notes, hurdling over difficult names and nimbly skipping from character to character. Readers will be entirely immersed in the hothouse world of the architect and his women. A Viking hardcover(Reviews, Nov. 17).(Feb.)

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Library Journal

In his trademark style, Boyle (www.tcboyle.com) uses a fictional narrator to tell the story of an American original: Frank Lloyd Wright, that flamboyant genius of 20th-century architecture. The tale unfolds through the experiences of four women who loved Wright: the Montenegrin beauty Olgivanna Milanoff, the passionate Maude Miriam Noel, the spirited Mamah Borthwick Cheney, and Wright's devoted first wife, Catherine "Kitty" Tobin. Narrator Grover Gardner, a Publishers WeeklyNarrator of the Year (2005), navigates the complicated story line with ease, reading with a distinctive clipped accent that could almost be Japanese (the novel's narrator is Wright apprentice Tadashi Sato, newly arrived from Japan). An excellent choice for fans of popular and literary fiction. [Audio clip available through www.blackstoneaudio.com; the Viking hc was recommended "for most fiction collections," LJ12/08.—Ed.]—Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL

—Nann Blaine Hilyard
Kirkus Reviews
When the artist formerly known as T. Coraghessan Boyle burst onto the national literary scene some 30 years ago, readers knew immediately that an immensely smart, versatile and entertaining new writer was staking his claim to some of the territory held by such reader-friendly wizards of narrative and rhetoric as Kurt Vonnegut and Donald Barthelme. To put it another way, Susan Sontag's sonorous declamations about the cultural legitimacy of "camp" found a lively correlative in the stories of Boyle's first collection Descent of Man (1979)-six more have followed. Who could resist crisp, in-your-face tales about the wretched excesses of pillaging Norsemen, or the spectacle of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin disporting himself at a Dadaist arts festival? Then, before we'd all stopped chuckling, Boyle produced his richly imagined and detailed debut novel Water Music (1981), in which historical Scottish explorer Mungo Park's African exploits became the vehicle for vivid observations and riffs on the nature of intellectual adventuring, heroism and arduously acquired self-knowledge. Boyle's subsequent novels have ranged from visions of fear and loathing in California's drug culture to the perils of the Internet-and commanded especially high visibility when reinterpreting well-known American success-and-failure stories, notably in deft fictionalizations of the complicated lives of cereal-king health faddist John Harvey Kellogg (The Road to Wellville, 1993) and innovative sex researcher Alfred Kinsey (The Inner Circle, 2004). The Women, Boyle's 12th novel, tackles another flawed American icon: the great architect and world-class egomaniac Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), whose unique accomplishments wererepeatedly compromised because-as this novel's narrator informs us-"throughout his life, especially in times of duress, [Wright] sought the company of women." That narrator-Japanese architectural student Sato Tadashi, who becomes one of numerous "acolytes" laboring unpaid at Wright's huge Wisconsin estate Taliesin-tells, in reverse order, the stories of Wright's four great loves: the Montenegrin beauty (Olgivanna) who succeeds his fiery Southern mistress Maude Miriam Noel (a madder, more vituperative Zelda Fitzgerald), Wright's soul mate Mamah Cheney (whom he appropriates from her husband and children) and first wife Kitty, displaced by Mamah (who, like the doomed edifice of Taliesin, seems chosen to pay for the adulterous genius's sins). All of Boyle's colorful skills are fully engaged in his latest (as, to be fair, are his tendencies toward redundancy and overemphasis). It's a performance worthy of the writer who has, in interviews and on his informative website, acknowledged the influences of Flannery O'Connor, Evelyn Waugh and Gabriel Garc'a Marquez. I'd argue that Dickens and Shakespeare also must loom prominently in the imagination of a writer so adept at the creation of improbably beguiling comic grotesques. And Boyle's warmhearted, coldly calculating, ineffably seductive and unknowable Frank Lloyd Wright may be the most beguiling of them all.

Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Library Edition, Unabridged, 2 MP3, 15 hrs 30 min
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

T. C. Boyle is the author of eleven novels, including World's End (winner of the PEN/FaulknerAward), Drop City (a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award), and The Inner Circle. His most recent story collections are Tooth and Claw and The Human Fly and Other Stories.

Brief Biography

Santa Barbara California
Date of Birth:
December 2, 1948
Place of Birth:
Peekskill, New York
B.A. in music, State University of New York at Potsdam, 1970; Ph.D. in literature, Iowa University, 1977

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Women 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 reviews.
jblickman More than 1 year ago
This is my first TC Boyle book but it wont be my last. I saw the movie ¿Road to Wellville¿ and was not impressed but I am now interested in reading the book. I was lead to the ¿The Woman¿ after reading the excellent ¿Loving Frank.¿ Prior to this I did not know much about Frank Lloyd Wright other than he was a famous architect, and I had no idea about his interesting love life. Both books are really about the women in his life. ¿Loving Frank¿ is really about irrepressible and unconventional Mamah Cheney, but ¿The Women¿ is Mr. Wright brought to life through the eyes of the four woman who love him: Olgivanna Milanoff; Maud Miriam Noel, Mamah Cheney, and his first wife, Kitty Tobin. Wright is a bigger than life figure who¿s story today is just as fascinating as it was back in the first half of the 20th century. One of the original modern celebrities, but unlike most of today¿s fakers this man had real talent. The heart of this story though his Boyle¿s writing and how he brings these unconventional characters to life. You can tell he has done his research and knows his subject, but with his fiction he brings these people to life in away that dry nonfiction can never do. Boyle creates living breathing characters from the historical record and takes us inside their minds. How can he really know these peoples inner most thoughts? This does not really matter for the truth of what he has created jumps off the page. Sometimes fiction does a better job of revealing truth than historical facts. I look forward to reading Boyle¿s earlier works! For more excellent historical fiction do try Misfits Country Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable brought to life!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thesis style writing with footnotes was bothersome. Not much insight on the heart and soul of Frank himself. Slow beginning but did pick up toward the end at which point I was very interested. (However, I was not particularly drawn to the book).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had trouble keeping my attention. The author wrote long, and unnecessary descriptions of almost everything and it seemed to be more of a screenplay than a novel (leave some things up to the reader's imagination, please!). I certainly don't expect simple language in a novel, but does a reader need a thesaurus to get through a book just so the author can sound sophisticated? Not a favorite.
Mariposa More than 1 year ago
I thought the information provided about Frank Lloyd Wright was interesting to say the least, but the way the story was put together didn't work for me. The sequencing of events was confusing/annoying. I pushed myself to finish the book. I think I would have preferred a non-fiction account.
PhotoLily More than 1 year ago
One of the worst books I've read. I only finished it because of the hype when it first came out (I figured it had to get better). Dull read and uninspired writting; sorry I spent money on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As somewhat of a scholar on Frank Lloyd Wright, I find the book enjoyable as the author fictionalizes the relationships between Wright and three women in his life. Because it weaves together reality with fantasy, I recommend it with the caveat that the reader understands this genre of writing.
NancyT More than 1 year ago
It's kind of a rip off on Loving Frank, the book about Mammah and FLW. I agree with one of the other reviewers that this book is hard to follow as it jumps from woman to woman and back to woman to woman. It is also hard to tell who is telling the story. If you think you want to read this, check it out at the library, save your money. And if you like FLW, you must read Loving Frank.
Pewaukeepen More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book from the first few paragraphs. The connection between "Frank" and each of these ladies amazes me. Could you find more opposing personalities? Can you believe that anyone could survive all the drama and unpaid bills and come out of it with his "great" reputation? It is my first T.C. Boyle book. It won't be the last.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really interested in this book both from a recomendation based on an NPR interview and the fact that I am interested in the designs of Wright's. I am sorry that I purchased this book. The style is hard to follow. I have not even finished it because it did not keep my attention. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were not in the semi-biographical style with the footnotes. I wish that I had just borrowed it from the library were I could have returned it.
skb More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's because I bought this in audiobook form, but I was very disappointed the way the book was written. I thought something monumental was going to happen and that's why the story started "backward." It also tended to go off on a tangent with a character's background history to the point where I thought "Huh, what's going on? Did I miss something?" I think the editor was asleep on this project too. Though I had to finish it, I thought the book dreary and uninteresting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting read but a bit confusing..the author wrote in reverse chronology. He did not give equal time to each wife/lover. He gave a good sense of what it must have been like to live at Taliesin. There are a lot of facts used in the novel as well as the author's keen imagination. However, I found that I had to push myself to complete the book.
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It kept my attention and made me read more. Good job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bought it for my wife for Christmas. She is a big Frank Lloyd Wright fan. She says it gives a different perspective than "Loving Frank" which was just from the point of view of one of his wives/lovers.
StacieRosePittard More than 1 year ago
Not a very good book. It lacked a point, and I felt as if nothing happened through the entire thing. I don't particularly care for the fact that this is a piece of fiction based on real people. The author took too much creative license, and still couldn't come up with an interesting story. You may be better off simply reading a biography of FLW. The biggest gripe I have over this book, is the fact that it follows Wright's relationship between four different women. While I admire the author's attempt at creating four women with four different personalities (although only one of their personalities was distinct), the story was the same between all of them. The same circumstances, the same tone, the same turn of events. It got old really fast. Only one of the women had an interesting outcome, but you don't get to that until the very end. Not worth the time, and this is one of the few books I regret reading.
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I had no idea what a controversial life Frank Lloyd Wright led. He was a man of juxtapositions and controversy. The book belabored certain qualities of his personality, but it was interesting none the less.
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