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Triangle by Katharine Weber


by Katharine Weber

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3301533,462 (3.55)27
  1. 10
    Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David Von Drehle (bnbookgirl)
  2. 00
    The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In these novels, elderly Jewish women -- one from New York's Lower East Side, the other from Boston's North End -- recount their life stories to interviewers, in the process vividly depicting people and places responsible for shaping their identities.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Unfocused and repetitive. The author could not decide what story to tell: George the composer's or Esther the fire survivor's. So she mashed them up into one incohesive mess. And then it seems like she realized that she didn't have enough of Esther's story to fill the book, so she just told it over and over again. Very disappointing, given what could have been a riveting topic for a novel. ( )
  VenusofUrbino | Sep 9, 2013 |
Good fiction about a historical tragedy. I could never really tell whether the parallel story of George's musical compositions was supposed to lighten up the somber subject at hand, or whether we were supposed to take it seriously. I enjoyed the story but did feel that the author could have deleted at least one or two of the interviews. ( )
  elsyd | Jun 23, 2013 |
This was a very good book about people and their stories. The ones they tell, and the ones told about them. I liked Esther's interactions with the interviewer as well as her granddaughter's friend George Bostwick composing music based on DNA. ( )
  krin5292 | Feb 24, 2013 |
Sorry--I couldn`t get past description of George and his music writing methods. I thought it was stupid and a waste of time to continue. A Faulkner book lie on my bedstand next to this nothing. Guess who won! ( )
  kerrlm | Jun 28, 2012 |
The book begins with a riveting first-person account of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire by fictional survivor Esther Gottesfeld. Fast forward to 2001, and Esther’s granddaughter, Rebecca, is getting hints from a feminist “herstorian” named Ruth Zion that Esther’s story is perhaps not as straightforward as it seems. Is there something she’s been hiding? Does Rebecca know her secret? Does she want to know?

Weber builds her story using newspaper articles, court and interview transcripts, and a standard narrative focusing on Rebecca and her long-time boyfriend George. All the different documents and articles have a wonderfully authentic flavor. I love that kind of thing in a book, and Weber creates and uses these “artifacts” well.

Although the Triangle fire is probably the most interesting element of the book, Weber doesn’t focus exclusively on the fire. There are some lengthy descriptions of George’s musical compositions based on people’s DNA sequences, Sierpinski triangles, and other structures in nature. I found these bits pretty interesting, and sometimes kind of funny, but they were maybe a little overly long and felt like a distraction from the central story.

As far as the central mystery regarding Esther goes, I figured out most of it from the very beginning. I thought the first chapter gave the game away. This did not, however, hinder my enjoyment of the book. I also liked the central characters in the book quite a lot. Ruth Zion is something of a caricature, which was perhaps unfortunate, but I must admit I got some laughs out of the Ruth-centric moments.

Overall, a good read—not perfect, but clever and interesting enough to reward the attentive reader. See my complete review at Shelf Love. ( )
  teresakayep | Apr 1, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312426143, Paperback)

By the time she dies at age 106, Esther Gottesfeld, the last survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, has told the story of that day many times. But her own role remains mysterious: How did she survive? Are the gaps in her story just common mistakes, or has she concealed a secret over the years? As her granddaughter seeks the real story in the present day, a zealous feminist historian bears down on her with her own set of conclusions, and Esther's voice vies with theirs to reveal the full meaning of the tragedy.
A brilliant chronicle of the event that stood for ninety years as New York's most violent disaster, Triangle forces us to consider how we tell our stories, how we hear them, and how history is forged from unverifiable truths.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The last living survivor of a 1911 sweatshop fire, 106-year-old Esther Gottesfeld passes away leaving numerous questions about the fire, which is investigated by her granddaughter Rebecca and a feminist historian with a personal agenda.

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