Monday, September 7, 2009

Book Report: The Women

I just finished The Women by T.C. Boyle as I'm a bit on an architecture nerd I have already read Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.

The Women tells the story of the women Frank Lloyd Wright was involved with, Kitty Tobin, his wife; Mamah Borthwick Cheney; Maude Miriam Noel; and Olgivanna Milanoff. The book is told from the perspective of Sato Tadashi, a Japanese apprentice who studies with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin, in reverse chronological order.
The women Wright was involved with all have strong personalities and respond to Wright in different ways. It is interesting to see the personal life of one of the world's greatest architect. Wright's pure love for aesthetics, love, and most of all his personal retreat, Taliesin is striking.
The Women was a bit of a slow read for me and I found Boyle's writing to be a bit dry, however I wonder if I might have liked this book better had I not already read Loving Frank which deals simply with Wright's relationship with Mamah Borthwick Cheney.

If anything both of these books have got me itching to go to Taliesin, Wright's retreat in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Wright built Taliesin on land that his family settled when they first arrived in America. Taliesin served as a retreat for Wright and Mamah Cheney and in his time was known to the press as his "love bungalow."

Taliesin was where Wright and Mamah spent most of their time together until 1914 when a servant set the house on fire resulting in the death of Mamah Borthwich Cheney and six others. Wright rebuilt Taliesin only to have it catch on fire and be rebuilt twice more.

Taliesin was where Wright drafted the plans for many of his famous buildings, including Fallingwater,

And the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

As someone who loves Arts and Crafts/Prairie style architecture I cannot imagine how moving it must be to take a tour. The Taliesin Preservation organization offers 5 types of tours and they run from April- October.
It's a little bit of a hike from here but I think I'm going to have to convince Jus to take me soon.

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