Being a huge fan of author T.C. Boyle, this book came as a disappointment. It wasn't the style or the characters (Boyle's style is always strong and his characters are terrific), but the wandering plot that nearly did me in.
The Women chronicles the love life of Frank Lloyd Wright, premier architect of the early 1900's. The man was a genius with buildings, while at the same time being a home-wrecker, megalomaniac, and all-around jerk. He never paid his bills, traveled from one woman to the other without a care, and thought only of himself and his work.
The problem with the novel is that it is told back-to-front. That is, Boyle begins with the last woman in Wright's life then moves backwards to the first. To complicate matters further, the story is told by one of Wright's loyal students who intersperses the story of the architect with his own saga of love. So confusing! I was constantly wondering who the narrator was talking about, and thinking that I'd missed something. The climax of the book, which actually happened before all of the other events, was rendered almost meaningless because I knew what came afterwards.
The book does give insight into the mind of Wright and also explains a lot about morality of the early 1900's. It also explains a lot of the architect's projects, many of which I was unaware. However, The Road to Wellville was a much better read.