The Golden House – Salman Rushdie
The Golden House – On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons: agoraphobic, alcoholic Petya, a brilliant recluse with a tortured mind; Apu, the flamboyant artist, sexually and spiritually omnivorous, famous on twenty blocks; and D, at twenty-two the baby of the family, harboring an explosive secret even from himself. There is no mother, no wife; at least not until Vasilisa, a sleek Russian expat, snags the septuagenarian Nero, becoming the queen to his king—a queen in want of an heir.
Our guide to the Goldens’ world is their neighbor René, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he ingratiates himself into their household. Seduced by their mystique, he is inevitably implicated in their quarrels, their infidelities, and, indeed, their crimes. Meanwhile, like a bad joke, a certain comic-book villain embarks upon a crass presidential run that turns New York upside-down.
“[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)
Sir Salman Rushdie is the author of many novels including Grimus, Midnight’s Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown and The Enchantress of Florence. He has also published works of non-fiction including, The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, The Wizard of Oz and, as co-editor, The Vintage Book of Short Stories.
He has received many awards for his writing including the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 1993 Midnight’s Children was judged to be the ‘Booker of Bookers’, the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. In June 2007 he received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
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