TRIANGLE by Katharine Weber

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Esther Gottesfeld is the last living survivor of the notorious 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire and has told her story countless times in the span of her lifetime. Even so, her death at the age of 106 leaves unanswered many questions about what happened that fateful day. How did she manage to survive the fire when at least 146 workers, most of them women, her sister and fiancé among them, burned or jumped to their deaths from the sweatshop inferno? Are the discrepancies in her various accounts over the years just ordinary human fallacy, or is there a hidden story in Esther's recollections of that terrible day?

Esther's granddaughter Rebecca Gottesfeld, with her partner George Botkin, an ingenious composer, seek to unravel the facts of the matter while Ruth Zion, a zealous feminist historian of the fire, bores in on them with her own mole-like agenda. A brilliant, haunting novel about one of the most terrible tragedies in early-twentieth-century America, Triangle forces us to consider how we tell our stories, how we hear them, and how history is forged from unverifiable truths.


About Katharine Weber

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Katharine Weber is the author of the novels True Confections, Triangle, The Little Women, The Music Lesson, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, the cultural historian Nicholas Fox Weber.
Published February 22, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 242 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Rebecca is first confronted with this possibility right after her grandmother dies, when she receives a call from Ruth Zion, a historian studying the fire.

Apr 15 2006 | Read Full Review of TRIANGLE

Entertainment Weekly

(The descriptions of George's music, which mimics patterns in nature, are a stand-alone treat.) Weber gradually peels away the layers — genetic, sexual, financial — of Esther's secret, and she has a terrific time with her characters: Esther is a crabby, canny crone, and Ruth, a hilariously se...

Jun 14 2006 | Read Full Review of TRIANGLE

Christian Science Monitor

[This review from the Monitor's archives originally ran on June 20,2006.] It was in the middle of a graduate seminar on romantic literature that the professor startled us with a passing remark.

Mar 25 2011 | Read Full Review of TRIANGLE

USA Today

Triangle's structure enhances our empathy and adds suspense, incorporating Esther's testimony and interviews, amusing magazine profiles of George and a moving passage that evokes his music and Esther's spirit.At its sharpest, Triangle affirms the often tricky relationship between fact and fiction...

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Bookmarks Magazine

In 1911, New York City’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women.

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of TRIANGLE

Literary Kicks

Stet and the art of writing suspenseOne of the most difficult things to teach student writers is that *every* piece of writing requires suspense.

Aug 01 2006 | Read Full Review of TRIANGLE

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