Nancy Horan, Loving Frank — September 8, 2014

Nancy Horan, Loving Frank

Sepia-toned background. Rectangles marked out on the wall, like the boundaries of corn fields. Shadows cast onto the rectangles. Something-something Frank Lloyd Wright.

Oh, how I hated this novel. It is truly one of the worst novels I have ever read. I am ecstatic upon having finished it. I hated it so much that I hardly want to write anything about it, so as to get the gross flavor out of my mouth as soon as possible. The Bookslut does the needful on this pile of garbage.

The basic gist of the book is:

Mamah: “Oh, Frank Lloyd Wright, you are such a genius, and so different from the drab conformity that I have come to know in my existence as a mother! My husband is actually a great guy. Too bad he’s not a genius on your level. Let us sex.”

Frank Lloyd Wright: “Yes, I will do sex. Mamah, you are so intelligent. We have such conversations, you and I. I know that this will not be clear to anyone else, so I will explain that we have such conversations, you and I.”

Mamah: “Okay. I am glad you said that.

“Also, how do I, as a woman, live a full life with a career while still honoring my commitments as a mother? Maybe I should go work for famed feminist writer Ellen Key in Sweden.”

Frank Lloyd Wright: “Okay. This will be good for you, up to the point that it turns out she thinks your main responsibility is to your kids. I would think that would be upsetting to you.”

Mamah: “Probably! But no matter. I will continue writing for her, even though she lies to me and cheats me out of the money she owes me. Also, you lie to me a lot.”

Frank Lloyd Wright: “Yes! But this has something to do with the inner strivings of my soul.”

Mamah: “Okay. [Dies.]”

Seriously. Awful book. I advise you to read the Wikipedia entry on Mamah Borthwick, then pad out every event you read with a few dozen pages of “she probably thought” or “what must it have been like” or “she smelled the dogwoods, which reminded her of”s. You will have constructed something at most half as awful as the paint-by-numbers horrorshow that is [book: Loving Frank].

__P.S.__: In some ways this novel reminds me of Umberto Eco’s essay on how to recognize a porn movie. “To put it simply, crudely, in porn movies, before you can see a healthy screw you have to put up with a documentary that could be sponsored by the Traffic Bureau.” [book: Loving Frank] really is that leaden.