Katharine Weber is the author of three novels. Her paternal grandmother finished buttonholes for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in 1909. She lives in Connecticut.
Adult/High School-The 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City killed almost 150 people. Weber blends that fact with an interesting and believable fictional premise in this novel about Esther Gottesfeld, the oldest living survivor of the disaster. How did she survive while her fianc? and twin sister, Pauline, perished? Esther's granddaughter, Rebecca, and Rebecca's partner, George, are caught in the middle of a battle of wills as Ruth Zion, a Triangle historian, shows a dogged determination to uncover the truth about that fatal day that sends her beyond investigative journalism into obsession. George is a renowned composer whose works are based on science, like the molecular sequences of an individual's DNA. Triangle is a series of complex, multilayered, triangular connections with links as tight as the threads in a shirt-Esther, Pauline, and the fianc?; Esther, Rebecca, and George; Rebecca, George, and Ruth-the permutations go on and on. Branching off into music theory and chemistry, this is a challenging and somewhat esoteric read that should appeal to mathematically and scientifically inclined teens as well as those who enjoy the mystery of the human heart and its relationships.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Esther Gottesfeld has been famous most of her life, because in 1911, when she was just 16, she escaped the tragic Triangle Waist Company fire when so many others perished. Decades later, Esther, sarcastic and feisty, is interviewed by an irritating feminist researcher, Ruth Zion, whose questions probe lurid personal details of the tragedy. Esther's death at age 106 comes just days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, an event Weber (The Music Lesson) skillfully weaves into Esther's story. Granddaughter Rebecca must decipher the puzzling contents of Esther's safety deposit box while Ruth continues prying because of discrepancies in Esther's telling and retelling of what happened the day of the fire. Rebecca turns to her eccentric boyfriend, George Botkin, an experimental music composer, who helps put the pieces together. He composes the Triangle Overture, an ambitious, bold, and complex finale that Weber imaginatively uses to tie up the reminiscences, flashbacks, and trial testimony revolving around locked doors and crooked building inspectors. Weber demonstrates her deep understanding of her characters in this beautiful novel perfectly introduced by Robert Pinsky's poem "Shirt." Highly recommended for all public libraries.-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 workers, most of them women, and galvanized efforts to reform working conditions in sweatshops. In Esther Gottesfeld, the last remaining survivor of the Triangle fire, Weber (The Little Women) creates a believable and memorable witness to the horrors of that day. Esther managed to escape, but her fianc?, Sam, and her sister, Pauline, both perished in the blaze. In 2001, Esther is living in a New York Jewish retirement home, visited often by her beloved granddaughter Rebecca and Rebecca's longtime partner, George Botkin. Rebecca and George's story and quirky rapport take up half of the book, and descriptions of George's music provide a needed counterpoint to the harrowing accounts of the fire and its aftermath. But Ruth Zion, a humorless but perceptive feminist scholar, sees inconsistencies in Esther's story and determines to ferret them out through repeated interviews with Esther and, after her death, with Rebecca. The novel carefully, and wrenchingly, allows both the reader and Rebecca to discover the secret truth about Esther and the Triangle without spelling it out; it is a truth that brings home the real sufferings of factory life as well as the human capacity to tell the stories we want to hear. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"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