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The Golden House: A Novel by Salman Rushdie
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The Golden House: A Novel (2017)

by Salman Rushdie

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English (25)  Catalan (2)  German (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Salman Rushdie has become another of my favorite authors. His detailed and mysterious characters all have stories too intense, too interesting, and all with splashes of humor. While he has something of a reputation as a writer of dense and obscure fiction, his last ten or so novels were all written with details that leave absolutely nothing left un-said or un-described. His latest novel, The Golden House, maintains his marvelous and intriguing prose style.

As the dust jacket notes, “On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from an [unidentified] foreign shore and takes up residence in the architectural jewel of ‘the Gardens,’ a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village.” Of course, the neighbors are fascinated. His chosen, new world name is Nero Golden, and his three sons have adopted names of other Roman figures, Apu—from Lucius Apuleius, Dionysus prefers, “D,” and Petronius, takes the nickname, Petya. Each of these three men take turns unraveling the mystery of this family.

Rushdie also weaves lots of references to a whole slew of literary and real characters ranging from Anton Chekhov to George Clooney. Here is a sample of what is in store for the intrepid reader. “That night he talked and drank without stopping, and all of us who were there would carry fragments of that talk in our memories for the rest of our lives. What crazy, extraordinary talk it was! No limit to the subjects he reached for and used as punching bags: the British royal family, in particular the lives of Princess Margaret, who used a Caribbean island as her private boudoir, and Prince Charles, who wanted to be his lover’s toy; the philosophy of Spinoza (he liked it); the lyrics of Bob Dylan (he recited the whole of ‘Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands,’ as reverently as if it were a companion piece to ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’; the Spassky-Fischer chess match (Fischer had died the year before); Islamic radicalism (he was against it) and wishy-washy liberalism (which appeased Islam, he said, so he was against it too); […] the novels of G.K. Chesterton (he was a fan of The Man Who was Thursday); the unpleasantness of male chest hair; the ‘unjust treatment ‘ of Pluto, recently demoted to the status of ‘dwarf planet’ after a larger body, Eris, was discovered in the Kuiper Belt” (48-49). This is about two-thirds of the list of his topics.

Nero had some unspecified plans for the future. Rushdie writes, “Nero had hired the most powerful members of the city’s tribe of publicists, whose most important task was not to get, but to suppress, publicity; and so what happened in the Golden House very largely stayed in the Golden House” (52). One son is something of a loose cannon. Rushdie writes, “D Golden, when in his brothers’ company, alternated between ingratiation and rage. It was plain that he needed to love and be loved; there was a tide of emotion in him that needed to wash over people and he hoped for a returning tide to wash over him. […] Sometimes he seemed wise beyond his years. At other times he behaved like a four-year-old child” (67).

Salman Rushdie is an amazingly talented writer who can sweep a reader along on fantastic waves of literature, philosophy, history, and politics, while never forgetting to smile. His latest novel, The Golden House has from me, a solid 5 stars

--Chiron, 4/10/18 ( )
  rmckeown | Apr 25, 2018 |
When the extremely wealthy and mysterious Nero Golden and his three sons move to New York with new and telling names that they themselves have chosen from a country and a city that would not be named throughout most of the novel, The Golden House, it sets off a great deal of curiosity, rumour, and innuendo among their neighbours. Among the curious is Rene, son of two academics, a budding filmmaker and narrator of the story. After entering the inner circle of the Golden household, he is is determined to discover all their secrets so that he can make a documentary or, perhaps even better, a mockumentary about them.

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie is chockfull of wordplay and references to mythology, literature, film and pop culture, most enjoyably (at least if you are politically liberal) the story of a man born with green hair, a villain who calls himself the joker, who will rise to become president. There were times when I found all of these allusions a bit tiring, even smug – I started counting the number of foreign films he could manage to mention on a single page. Overall, though, I quite enjoyed this book. It is a witty, intelligent, and insightful character study about the absurdity of the times we live in, a world where a man born into immense wealth can reinvent himself from real estate developer with multiple bankruptcies, to reality star, to populist president of the United States of America.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review ( )
  lostinalibrary | Mar 28, 2018 |
This book takes some patience, but as a whole, it does pay off. Nero Golden (not his real name) and his also Roman-themed sons (Apuleus, Petronius, and Dionysus) start a new life in New York in the late 2000's. The narrator weaves in and out of this story as both an observer and as chronicler deeply involved with the events he is relating as his character is developing this very story into a screen play. The plot, such as it is, unveils itself slowly, it's more like a tapestry that gradually comes into focus. The book is full of allusion and very little of it subtle (care to guess who The Joker is who vanquished the determined Batwoman in an upside down election?) The story is a tragedy in the ancient sense as the monikers of the characters tend to foreshadow their lives. The book was also filled with references, both pop and historical, that I seemed to get. Rushdie is of my generation so maybe that should be of no surprise, but he seems to have been browsing my library too. In the end, movie influences seem to win out, and the final scenes would do any Korean director proud. ( )
  JeffV | Feb 28, 2018 |
Ever since the novel Midnight's Children, I have looked to read other novels by Salman Rushdie. I thought Midnight's Children was one of the greatest books I ever read. This new novel called The Golden House fully shows his immense ability as a writer, his frequent use of literary illusions, and his eye on the absurd scenarios of the world. In this novel a Jay Gatsby type character by the name of Rene lives in the Gardens of Manhattan. He lives with his academic parents and is somewhat shielded from life by this little enclave of culture. Then a new neighbor arrives a wealthy 70 something millionaire who has a shady past and three sons. In the course of the novel Rene will uncover the secrets of this family and tell the story of these three sons. In addition he will tell the story of the new Russian wife that Nero Golden takes on and the complications that are formed when he , Rene, agrees to a bargain with her.

Though I always find Rushdie's writing to be a wonder, I have to admit that at times it seemed to bog down my enjoyment of the narrative. I think that Rushdie tried to do a lot in this novel and listening to an interview in the Guardian he admits that the presidency of Trump became important to be included in the book. So among all the many subplots he also decided to weave the election of the one called the joker into his storyline. But in all the novel did satisfy its premise. Rene did tell the story of the Golden house, the members of the family, their history and their demise. Still the author ties up the ending in a satisfying way. Maybe not my favorite read of late, but one that furthered my understanding of this author's genius. ( )
  novelcommentary | Feb 12, 2018 |
I really wanted to like this novel but I have to be honest: I did not enjoy it at all. It was very difficult to get through and I almost gave up multiple times. It starts off in a very boring way with nothing going on. That doesn't stop the narrator from narrating everything in a very melodramatic way, which serves no purpose whatsoever. I really did not like the narrator at all; his voice tried to hard to mark its importance and there were just too many pop culture references for my liking. It's clear that the author is a master in the art of making connections; his comparisons between the politics in the States and the happenings in the Golden family were apt and brilliant. However, getting to these moments was a challenge and it stopped impressing me after a time because of the way the author presented it. Maybe I'm not intelligent enough to appreciate the nuances and the arguments the author is trying to make ... but at the end of the day, I didn't enjoy reading this story. Overall, this was not the greatest novel I've read.... but I think I will give the author another chance to wow me!

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Salman Rushdie De familie Golden beschrijft de ondergang van een rijke familie in het huidige Amerikaanse tijdsgewricht. Pater familias en multi-miljonair Nero Golden is met zijn drie zoon neergestreken in New York. Ze zijn India, min of meer, ontvlucht nadat zijn vrouw bij een terroristische aanslag in een hotel in Mumbai, India is vermoord. Onder schuilnamen hebben ze zich gevestigd in een groot huis in New York…lees verder >
 
Whether by design, chance, or oracular divination, Salman Rushdie has managed, within a year of the 2016 election, to publish the first novel of the Trumpian Era. On purely technical merits this is an astounding achievement, the literary equivalent of Katie Ledecky lapping the Olympic field in the 1500-meter freestyle. The publishing industry still operates at an aristocratic pace; Egypt built the new Suez Canal in less time than it typically takes to convert a finished manuscript into a hardcover. As a point of comparison, the first novel to appear about September 11, Windows on the World, by the French author Frédéric Beigbeder, was not published until August 2003. Yet less than eight months into the administration, Rushdie has produced a novel that, if not explicitly about the president, is tinged a toxic shade of orange.
 
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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"--… (more)

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