Friday, December 26, 2008
This is a fictionalized account of the continuing romantic relationship between the innovative architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney, an educated upper middle class matron who at first was a client of his. Author Nancy Horan combines in-depth research (unfortunately there is a limited amount of source material) with imagination to depict Cheney and Wright’s physical and emotional desires and how they conflicted with their fractured family relationships and the humiliation endured by both in the early 20th century Midwestern society. Cheney’s character is well-developed and sympathetic; Wright’s character is more self-centered. What would be a routine story of adultery and divorce in today’s world takes on an aura of tragedy.