Monday, April 13, 2009

Loving Frank - March's Book Discussion Title

The Thursday Evening Book Club met in March to discuss Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Our discussion was lively as we both agreed and disagreed on different aspects of this book. In this, her debut as a novelist, Horan tackled the scandalous story of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah (pronounced “may-mah”) Borthwick Cheney. Focusing on this short chapter in the life of architect Wright, Horan does a deft job of capturing the mores of the times, which was media hungry for scandals involving famous people, not unlike today, but which was overly critical of women in such affairs, especially when children were abandoned, as was the case with Wright and Cheney.

Horan brings in issues of the restrictions on women, and the new ideas that were surfacing, using the character of Ellen Key, a Swedish philosopher. They met and Mamah ultimately became an American translator for Key’s books. An interesting point brought out in our discussion was the idea that Mamah might have found a way to fulfill her aspirations and passions without leaving her family for Frank Lloyd Wright. Edwin, her husband might have been boring to Mamah, but he was very supportive.

For those who are interested in learning more about Frank Lloyd Wright, there are several other biographies, books on his architecture, and an autobiography available through the library. For those who enjoyed the fictional presentation of his story, there is a new novel by T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Women, which broadens the story to talk about the other women in Wright’s life. PL



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