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The Golden Age (2014)

by Joan London

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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20613105,470 (3.94)44
This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life. From one of Australia's most loved novelists. He felt like a pirate landing on an island of little maimed animals. A great wave had swept them up and dumped them here. All of them, like him, stranded, wanting to go home. Perth, 1954.… (more)
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» See also 44 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Simple, yet powerful writing, this book surprised me. I was sure it was not going to fit my mood, I was right. And still, I could not put it down.

It is 1954. Frank Gold is 13 years old when he is diagnosed with Polio. Frank and his family are WWII Jewish immigrants from war torn Hungary. Elsa, a year younger, and a native Australian, meets Frank at The Golden Age Home where they are both being treated. The story encompasses more than their young love. London brings together a cast of characters, each with their own life stories. Everyone of them will grab hold of your heart and pull. Frank's parents, who are having difficulty acclimating to their new country. Elsa's mother, who has strived to be the perfect mother, now finding herself overwhelmed with her daughters illness. Then there are the nurses and other personnel at The Golden Age, each one touching Frank in a special way.

The end, I had a feeling, early on, that I was not going to like it. Thus 4 stars instead of 5. No reason though for you not to read it. Time well spent, with a superb writer and beautiful story. ( )
  JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
Poetic coming of age story

Lovely novel on first love, friendship and nostalgia for lost worlds and families, artfully intermingled stories of loss and love.
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
This an evocative story set primarily in Australia in the early 1950's. The effects of WWII are still resonating throughout the world and the specter of polio haunts every family during these epidemic years. The main characters are Frank (Ferec) and Elsa, two young adolescents in a residential rehab center in Perth, undergoing treatment as they recover from polio.

There are several parallel stories of exile through the book. These two young teens have been exiled from their families and school in the Golden Age rehab home. Frank's parents are war refugee's from Budapest. Several of the care providers in the Golden Age are also from away.

The author sets the tone through her descriptions of the environment and her well drawn characters. Although the story mainly involves Frank and Elsa, there are several sub-stories that enhance the plot and draw the reader into the narrative.

The writing is quiet and understated, reminiscent of Kent Haruf's style of writing. The author lovingly and charitably draws her characters, causing the reader the care about what happens to them. ( )
  tangledthread | Mar 9, 2018 |
Evocative story set in 1950's Perth hospital home for children recovering from polio. Frank and Elsa are young teenagers growing close and later 'expelled' for being found in the same bed. Beautifully written from many character's points of view it is quiet, poetic novel about a real place and time. The final chapter was somewhat unexpected having jumped forward many years - they didn't stay together. ( )
  siri51 | Dec 15, 2017 |
I thought I'd like this more than I did - found it a little slow, and the story seemed to trail off at the end. But it was an interesting depiction of the polio epidemic set in Perth, written mostly from the point of view of a boy and a girl. ( )
  bobbieharv | Aug 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joan Londonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cull, SandyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goldin, NanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my three sisters
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One afternoon during rest-time, the new boy, Frank Gold, left his bed, lowered himself into his wheelchair and glided down the corridor.
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He, Ida and Frank had left behind all their family and friends, those who had survived.  But the dead came with you.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life. From one of Australia's most loved novelists. He felt like a pirate landing on an island of little maimed animals. A great wave had swept them up and dumped them here. All of them, like him, stranded, wanting to go home. Perth, 1954.

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Book description
It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At the Golden Age Children's Polio Convalescent Home in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond.

The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love and desire, music, death, and poetry. It is a place where children must learn they're alone, even within their families.
It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At the Golden Age Children's Polio Convalescent Home in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond.

The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, whereby everything occurs: love and desire, music, death, and poetry. It is a place where children must learn they're alone, even within their families.
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