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Fact and Fiction Overlap in Weber's 'Triangle'

Katharine Weber has family ties to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
Katharine Weber has family ties to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, stunned New York. Many of the 146 people who died in the fire jumped from upper floors, where fire-department ladders couldn't reach and fire escapes melted in the heat.

That fire provides the background for Katharine Weber's new novel Triangle. Her grandmother actually worked at the factory, two years before the disaster.

Protagonist Esther Gottesfeld (who takes her surname from Weber's grandmother) is the fictional last survivor of the blaze. For years, she's told her version of what happened. But a pushy academic, Ruth Zion, raises questions about the facts in Esther's story.

The book is fiction, but Weber is after the truth. She talks with Sheilah Kast about her book.

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