- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (September 5, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399592806
- ISBN-13: 978-0399592805
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 175 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Golden House: A Novel Hardcover – September 5, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of September 2017: The events of The Golden House begin around Obama's inauguration and end in our current time--and it is a novel about our times--but it is also a story steeped in Greek tragedy and the history of cinema. Nero Golden is a wealthy immigrant with three sons who has moved from Mumbai to New York under mysterious circumstances. He takes up residence in a downtown mansion, where he acquires a beautiful Russian second wife (one could argue just as strenuously that she acquires him). Nero, his new wife, and his sons establish their respective places in New York society, and their stories are told through the eyes of Rene, an aspiring film maker who lives across the street and who becomes entangled in the rapidly unwinding drama of the Golden family. What follows is an entertaining and enlightening novel with much to say about modern America. This is a story with roots and antecedents stretching into the past, but it feels as relevant and timely as anything you'll read today. --Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review
“[A] modern masterpiece . . . telling a story full of wonder and leaving you marveling at how it ever came out of the author’s head.”—Associated Press
“Wildly satiric and yet piercingly real . . . If F. Scott Fitzgerald, Homer, Euripides, and Shakespeare collaborated on a contemporary fall-of-an-empire epic set in New York City, the result would be The Golden House.”—Poets & Writers
“A tonic addition to American—no, world!—literature . . . a Greek tragedy with Indian roots and New York coordinates.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A recognizably Rushdie novel in its playfulness, its verbal jousting, its audacious bravado, its unapologetic erudition, and its sheer, dazzling brilliance.”—The Boston Globe
“A joy to read . . . clever, intimidating, jocund, and electrifying.”—Chicago Review of Books
“The Golden House . . . ranks among Rushdie’s most ambitious and provocative books [and] displays the quicksilver wit and playful storytelling of Rushdie’s best work.”—USA Today
“From Nero to Obama, via The Godfather . . . The veteran novelist blends ancient history and myth with popular culture, crime caper and film techniques to fashion a morality tale for today.”—The Guardian
“Vivid and appealing.”—The Week
“A tale of identity, reinvention, truth (and lies), and terror, The Golden House captures the climate of American politics and culture from the Obama era to today.”—BuzzFeed
“The Golden House is a brilliant examination of the times we are living in today. A must read!”—PopSugar
“Rushdie writes with a Dickensian exuberance, always full of humor as well as striking scornful, tragic notes.”—The London Evening Standard
“Intelligent and darkly funny . . . with a raw political edge.”—The Times (UK)
“Powerful. . . . The great strength of The Golden House is Rushdie’s ability to balance the fairy tale tone of the story with gritty realities.”—The Toronto Star
“Ambitious and rewarding.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A novel grounded in historical fact yet rife with Rushdie’s signature imaginative prowess.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A ravishingly well-told, deeply knowledgeable, magnificently insightful, and righteously outraged epic which poses timeless questions about the human condition.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A sort of Great Gatsby for our time: everyone is implicated, no one is innocent, and no one comes out unscathed.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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"The Golden House" is no different. The story is about an international family - father, three sons- and their move to a little cloister of houses in New York City. One of their neighbors takes it upon himself to chronicle their experience and the novel is told from his perspective.
To be completely honest, the story didn't interest me at all and I wasn't that invested in the characters, but I *was* invested in the writing. I'm usually a stickler for empathetic characters and solid plot but when the writing is wonderful, it can make up the difference.To me, Rushdie is a powerful novelist, not content to stick to any sort of genre or format within his writing. Some passages contain quotations marks to indicate speech, some do not. Some events are told in screenplay format, others in long winded speeches given by the oldest brother (who is on the autism spectrum and can recite details with ease.) The novel is dense, but it all sort of flows off the page effortlessly.
This isn't a book you dip in and out of, I don't think. I usually am forced to read pages of books when I get a little free time here and there. However, I had the time this past week to sit down for a couple of hours in the afternoons, and I found myself instantly drawn into the book and Rushdie's writing. I can't consider myself a Rushdie fan, simply because I don't think my reading style (grabbing pages when I can, a few minutes here, a few minutes there... sometimes not being able to read for a few days) suits his writing style, so I can't really compare how "The Golden House" compared to many of his other novels. But compared to what I've been reading the past few years, I'm pretty impressed.
This is the kind of book that makes me want to change my reading habits and spend more time reading good books instead of just dipping in and out of whatever is on my bedside table whenever I have some time.
In The Golden House, Rushdie writes as a New Yorker. He tells a tale of a Mumbai family, hiding with new identities, under a mysterious veil of danger in New York City. Our narrator is a young American man raised by professorial and loving parents on the edges of the MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens. (They’re real, look it up.) The Golden family lives at the other end of the Gardens and these recent arrivals are endlessly fascinating to René, the son of Gabe and Darcy.
The Goldens were “reborn” when they left Mumbai to live in America with their adopted Roman names. The father claimed the name of Nero, with all its end-of-empire symbolism. His first son took the name Petronius, the second chose Lucius Apuleius (Apu) and the third became Dionysus or D. The names were perhaps a bad idea.
René had always wanted to be a film maker but his life seems too prosaic until it becomes entangled in the low key, but rather tragic, lives of this family with no mother and, seemingly, no past. This novel is, among other things, an homage to great movies/films – European, Hollywood, Bollywood. Salman Rushdie, bursting still with crackling intellectual energy pulls into his story references to the movies he has loved, the same movies we love, except for a few so highbrow they may never have been available in the hinterlands I have inhabited. These movies still live vividly in his prodigious memory and in the minds of many a film buff.
As the Golden family comes apart, because you really cannot escape the past, a politician known as the Joker, guess who, a clownish grafter, is running for the American Presidency. (The parallels between American Democracy and the fall of Rome are hardly subtle.) As we know the Joker wins the election.
This is a very readable novel, without the Muslim/Indian baseline which is foreign to most Americans and makes some Rushdie novels seem somewhat dense. The Golden House is a tour de force by a man who is comfortable in cultures around the globe and does not mind splashing around in his literary bona fides for our enjoyment. Eliot’s “Prufrock” and Shakespeare get cameos among the films – “I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” Not yet, Mr. Rushdie, not yet.
Those of us who are shell-shocked with worry for American Democracy can find some comfort in the decision this British/Indian man made to put on his New York/American persona in order to help us through these chaotic days (and nights, and months, and years). What began as a comedy could easily become a classical tragedy. However, I think you will read this tragedy with a great big old smile on your face (at least some of the time).
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What an intense world.