Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fictional Frank Lloyd Wright

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan is the story of Frank Lloyd Wright's affair with Mameh Borthwick Cheney, a Chicago housewife, intellectual, and suffragist. They meet while he is designing a home for the Cheney family, and eventually leave their respective spouses to live together.

This novel reads like a really good biography, although I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing. If it was a true biography, I would love it for not having that draggy, bogged down feeling that almost all biographies tend to slip into, at least a little bit. But, knowing that this is meant to be fiction, I thought at times it turned into too much of a play by play account of Mameh's life with Frank. There were quite a few scenes, probably included for historical relevance, that felt like they didn't add much to the plot or the character development.

On the plus side, though, is the ending. It's by no means a happy one, but it's so explosively unexpected that the book may be worth reading for the shock of it alone. Also on the plus side, the parts that go into some of Franks Lloyd's Wright's philosophies were quite interesting in that you can really see how he served as the basis for Howard Roark in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.

And on a related note, I've added The Women by T.C. Boyle to my reading list. It's a novel about Frank Lloyd's Wright's relationship with each of his mistresses. Yes, apparently there were many.

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