The Quantum Pontiff

Book Reviews

Compare and contrast.

That first one has some good book review snark:

T. C. Boyle’s dreary new novel, “The Women,” isn’t a rewrite of Clare Boothe Luce’s wicked 1936 play “The Women.” It’s a rewrite of the life of Frank Lloyd Wright that somehow manages to turn the gripping, operatic saga of America’s premier architect and the women in his life into a tedious, predictable melodrama.

Ouch. Followed by a discussion of the backwards in time narrative technique:

Unfortunately for the reader, this inorganic, needlessly complex architecture — of the sort that Wright would utterly disdain in a building — serves no discernible purpose. Time scrolls back into the past not to reveal a more innocent or idealistic hero, but simply to underscore Wright’s perennial egotism.

Comments

  1. #1 Jonathan Vos Post
    February 2, 2009

    So… Ayn Rand did a better job of novelizing Frank Lloyd Wright, as the character “Howard Roark” in The Fountainhead?

    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/fountainhead/section5.rhtml

    “… Rand presents Dominique’s rape as a violent but necessary encounter—as just what Dominique needs. Her depiction of woman as stubborn and frigid and man as masterful and healing might shock the modern reader. It should shock, and is partly meant to shock, but it is also not quite an act of sexual violence between two lifelike characters. Rand shapes characters that are symbols, not real people. Thus the coupling of Roark and Dominique is the coupling of symbols, not the coupling of people, and the rape is more an abstract meditation on violence and frigidity than the hideous violation of a woman by a man. Roark’s rape of Dominique dramatizes the violence and force of their mental union. Although Roark is the rapist, he is also the victim, for he cannot resist Dominique and becomes a slave to his passions. Dominique resists not just Roark, but her own attraction to Roark. By fighting him, Dominique tries to rid herself of her desires. Neither character utters a word during the rape, a silence that suggests the oneness of their minds and contrasts with the physicality of the encounter. Rand foreshadows the rape when Dominique first sees Roark drilling at the granite quarry and cannot stop staring at him. She resents her fascination with him and hopes that Roark will succumb to the difficulty of the task. Instead, he continues and manages to crack the rock, in a gesture symbolizing his later success at shattering Dominique’s emotional wall….”