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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 . . . Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that transports you, telling a story full of wonder and leaving you marveling at how it ever came out of the author’s head. The Golden House is one of those books. . . . [It] tackles more than a handful of universal truths while feeling wholly original.”—The Associated Press
“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
“[The Golden House] is a recognizably Rushdie novel in its playfulness, its verbal jousting, its audacious bravado, its unapologetic erudition, and its sheer, dazzling brilliance.”—The Boston Globe
“Rushdie’s prose is beyond much reprieve—there are few contemporary artists who come to mind that possess his ability to craft sentences. In this regard, The Golden House, his latest novel, is no exception. . . . The Golden House is a joy to read. . . . It’s hard to not have fun reading writing at Rushdie’s level of craftsmanship. It’s clever, intimidating, jocund, and electrifying.”—The Chicago Review of Books
“My favorite Rushdie novel in years . . . 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. . . . Wildly satiric and yet piercingly real.”—Poets & Writers
“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
“The Golden House is a dirge for the American dream. It is a Greek tragedy with Indian roots and New York coordinates. . . . [Salman] Rushdie’s latest novel is a tonic addition to American—no, world!—literature.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“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. Often he plays the role of satirist. His caricatures and outsize figures are full of life, wickedness and human energy: again, as in Dickens, grounded in a precise social and political scene . . . laced with resonant contemporary echoes.”—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. . . . Mystery, tragedy, family drama, coming-of-age story, romance, myth, satire, and on, and on—in its glorious excess, The Golden House is a fairy tale for our time.”—The Toronto Star
“Ambitious and rewarding . . . Replete with allusions to literature, film, mythology and politics, the novel simultaneously channels the calamities of Greek drama and the information overload of the internet. The result is a distinctively rich epic of the immigrant experience in modern America, where no amount of money or self-abnegation can truly free a family from the sins of the past.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Must one’s past always inform the present? Can a man avoid karma? Is the United States still a haven for reinventing oneself? [The Golden House] poses these and other conundrums in a novel grounded in historical fact yet rife with Rushdie’s signature imaginative prowess. . . . Expanding upon the interpretation of the personal as political, Rushdie should garner even more readers with this cautionary tale of the long reach of terrorism and the demise of the American ideal.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A ravishingly well-told, deeply knowledgeable, magnificently insightful, and righteously outraged epic which poses timeless questions about the human condition. Can a person be both good and evil? Is family destiny? Does the past always catch up to us? In a time of polarizing extremes, can we find common ground? Will despots and their supporters be forever with us? Will humankind ever learn? Can story and art enlighten us? As [Salman] Rushdie’s blazing tale surges toward its crescendo, life, as it always has, rises stubbornly from the ashes, as does love.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Where Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities sent up the go-go, me-me Reagan/Bush era, Rushdie’s latest novel captures the existential uncertainties of the anxious Obama years. . . . 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.