Tuesday, July 18, 2006

2006 book 90

katharine weber's triangle
so, this is a novel about the last living survivor of the triangle factory fire of 1911, and her granddaughter the geneticist, and her granddaughter's boyfriend the musician, and the extremely unlikable caricature of a feminist historian trying to get her story. i had some mixed feelings about this book--i'm not sure if the truth of the matter was supposed to be a surprise to the reader, or if the point was to see how the other characters all dealt with it, but i figured it out reeeeeeally early on (perhaps due to the rerun of law and order:svu that i watched earlier tonight which had, weirdly, a very similar plot--also weirdly, there was a mention of law and order in the novel), except for one small twist which a more careful reader might have noticed. i mean, obviously i was interested in the outcome, b/c i read it all in one go to see if i was right, but it just seemed so obvious! also, there was a little too much on musical composition for my taste; i guess it was symbolic but i'm not really into that stuff. however, the three main characters were all well-written, and the glimpses of the life of a jewish immigrant in the early part of the 1900s remind me to dig up more of my own family history.


Elizabeth said...

I heard an interview with the author this weekend on Morning Edition, and she said that yes, it is supposed to be obvious, that she points it out on the first page. And that she loosely based that type of historian on some of her coworkers at Yale. The interview made it sound super repetitive and not very appealing to read, and its a subject I'm actually pretty interested in. Your review made it at least go back in the maybe file. You'd think an author would do a better job promoting their own book!

wordnerdy said...

oh, thanks for letting me know! it really bothered me thinking that the author expected her readers to be so dumb or something.

i wouldn't say it's repetitive--they do repeat esther's story of what happened during the fire a few times, but i didn't find that annoying (it made sense from a narrative point of view). i did HATE the historian character, however--i have NEVER met an academic who would behave that way. and i did think that was the writer's fault--she went way too far with the characterization on that one.

i did like it for the most part though, and it's a quick read, so you might want to give it a chance.