The Golden House

The Golden House

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A modern American epic set against the panorama of contemporary politics and culture--a hurtling, page-turning mystery that is equal parts The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the Vanities

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 Ren#65533;, 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.

Set against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and politics, The Golden House also marks Salman Rushdie's triumphant and exciting return to realism. The result is a modern epic of love and terrorism, loss and reinvention--a powerful, timely story told with the daring and panache that make Salman Rushdie a force of light in our dark new age.

Praise for The Golden House

"If you read a lot of fiction, you know that 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
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2017]
Edition: First Edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780399592805
0399592806
Branch Call Number: RUSHDIE
Characteristics: 380 pages ; 25 cm

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j
JLMason
Feb 19, 2018

An eminent author like Salman Rushdie writes books to tell more than just a story. So why did he write this book? The author is an expatriate Indian now living in New York. The Golden House is a tale about the devolution of the United States from a time of false hope with the election of Barack Obama to the horror of the new Joker president who represents the debasement of common decency and the depreciation of knowledge and learning. There are many themes: reinvention of self, excessive navel gazing in search of “identity", the corrupting influence of Russia, movies as better representations of and escape from reality, the attack on free speech, celebration of the vulgar and bizarre. Rushdie’s dismay at what is happening in his adopted country runs throughout the book. Yet the author clings to hope for the future in the reconciliation, conflagration, and “rebirth” that comes at the end.

c
ChrisMcMil
Feb 14, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed this brilliant novel. The characters are complex, unusual, and highly varied, perhaps a bit extreme but certainly interesting. The book is rich in description, allusion and references (which in my case, not being an English Lit major, required frequent use of Wikipedia to appreciate). The setting is very contemporary, and for the most part very American, occasionally dealing with current “hot topics” of political and social interest, always in an intelligent and thought provoking way, which given the present situation, can be quite disquieting. While many of the events are dramatic in the extreme, the core issues that are ultimately raised are universal and very human.

r
rodraglin
Jan 19, 2018

Rich, but unsatisfying

A man of extreme wealth immigrates from Mumbai to Manhattan along with his three adult sons. They change their identities and keep the reason for leaving their previous home a mystery though they don't live like recluses, just the opposite, they embrace their new homeland with excess and extravagance.

The Golden House is about this family and the unraveling of their mystery as told by a neighbour, a film maker, who takes an interest in them because he hopes their story will provide the plot for a movie he wants to make.

Rushdie's characters are larger than life, and I mean down right over the top. Indeed, there are no ordinary people in this novel, every one is eccentric, brilliant, extremely talented, very well dressed and beautiful beyond description though Rushdie does his best to describe all the above lavishly and extensively.
In fact he spends so much time on sumptuous imagery, on references to Greek mythology and on quotes that might make sense if I knew author of the quote and the context in which it was being used, I very soon became bored and early on found my self skimming pages to find something that advanced the plot.

The Golden House is an "insiders" book. If the reader knows the locales, events, jargon, trends, author of quotes, context of quotes, the heroes and heroines of Greek mythology and their significance then I imagine you're supposed to feel included, with it, up to date, part of the club, and oh so contemporary. If you don't you're a boob, a rube, a member of the cultural lumpenproletariat and don't deserve to know what's going in his book.

Rushdie obviously is an excellent, clever, educated, intelligent, sophisticated member of the upper crust of society and he sets out to prove that in every paragraph of this book.

The writing is so rich, so decadent I felt the same way I did when during the Holidays I overindulged in Christmas cake, shortbread and mince tarts - well fed, yet ironically, unsatisfied.

Keeping with my New Year's resolution of not enduring to the end books I'm not enjoying, I abandoned The Golden House about a quarter way through.

s
sandyc_9
Jan 03, 2018

Beautiful prose, as usual, but plot, not so compelling. It was just messy, melodramatic, and meandered too much for my taste. Not what I am used to with Rushdie.

j
jaslatia
Nov 18, 2017

This is my first Salman Rushdie book, and I must say I find it puzzling but compelling. His writing style is so elegant yet simple that he draws the reader in to a story that is not really that interesting so far (FYI, I haven't finished it--my ebook ran out) at least. I can't give it a big "thumbs up" because of the denseness of writing (yes, simple, elegant, but dense!). I will revise my comment hopefully after I get the ebook (or book) back to finish (I'm halfway through).

w
writermala
Nov 12, 2017

I cannot say I enjoyed this book but there was something compelling about it that kept me reading. Nero Golden moves his family of three adult sons from India to Greenwich Village in New York and Rene` tells the story of his life. His life in India remains a mystery till almost the very end. Here in New York, Vasilisa a beautiful woman, traps him into marriage and is intent on producing a heir for Nero's fortune. Does she succeed? There are a lot of questions and Rushdie tells a tale quite well.

s
stefhollmichel
Oct 30, 2017

Not a perfect book but very satisfying. The writing is beautiful, the humor smart and scathing, and the story delightfully over-the-top.

debwalker Sep 04, 2017

Epic story includes a slimy Trumpian con artist character The Joker, autism, transgender issues, as a billionaire moves his family from India to a mansion in NYC. Satire for our age of anti - truth.

e
erinh729
Jul 17, 2017

Salman Rushdie's new book is a breath of fresh air after Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights. It is full to the brim with literary and cinematic references, not to mention cultural markers and political commentary from the last 8 years and today. Rene is a pretty unreliable narrator and often unlikable, which kept me on my toes. I'm still not sure what I think of the book, but it is definitely worth a read. In addition to providing a suspenseful, enticing drama, Rushdie offers his response to the events of the 2016 election. It was definitely enjoyable to return to the land of the real after his last few fantastical novels.

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