By Katharine Weber
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312426149, 256pp.)
Publication Date: May 15, 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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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.
Katharine Weber is the author of three novels. Her paternal grandmother finished buttonholes for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in 1909. She lives in Connecticut.
- Reread the poem by Robert Pinsky that opens the novel. What do you make of the way the poem blends past and present? In what way do various forms—poetry, journalism, scholarly books, musical compositions, fiction—complement one another in documenting history? What echoes did you notice between Pinsky’s poem and the Triangle Oratorio with which the novel concludes? What similar reverberations occur throughout the novel?
"Extraordinary . . . Triangle is a strange, haunting and utterly compelling work that will linger long, like smoke after a fire."--The Baltimore Sun
"A thing of beauty. . . . A structurally dazzling novel whose formal acrobatics have a purpose beyond their own cleverness. That is, to make readers feel anew the tragedy of the Triangle fire."--Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air
"Katharine Weber's crackerjack historical mystery, may be the most effective 9/11 novel yet written--and it isn't even about 9/11."--Entertainment Weekly