The Golden House

The Golden House

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
7
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"When the aristocratic Golden family moves into a self contained pocket of New York City, a park in Greenwich Village called "The Gardens," their past is an absolute mystery. They seem to be hiding in plain sight: Nero Golden, the powerful but shady patriarch, and his sons Petya, a high functioning autistic and recluse; Apu, the successful artist who may or may not be profound; and D, the enchanting youngest son whose gender confusion mirrors the confusion - and possibilities - of the world around him. And finally there is Vasilisa, the Russian beauty who seduces the patriarch to shape their American stories. Our fearless narrator is an aspiring filmmaker who decides the Golden family will be his subject. He gains the trust of this strange family, even as their secrets gradually unfold - love affairs and betrayals, questions of belonging and identity, a murder, an apocalyptic terror attack, a magical, stolen baby, all set against a whirling background in which an insane Presidential Candidate known as only The Joker grows stronger and stronger, and America itself grows mad. And yet The Golden House is a hopeful story, even an inspiring one - a story about the hope that surrounds, and is made brighter by, even the darkest of situations. Overflowing with inventiveness, humor, and a touch of magic, this is a full-throated celebration of human nature, a great American novel, a tale of exile wrapped in a murder mystery, a meditation on the nature of good and evil, a thrilling page turner, and a coming of age story for the ages"
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2017
ISBN: 9780399592805
0399592806
Branch Call Number: FIC Rush
Characteristics: 380 pages ; 25 cm

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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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