The Golden House

Image source: Google

Rating: 4/5

Author: Salman Rushdie

Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: 2017

Language: English

Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0670090298

ISBN-13: 978-0670090297

Format: Paperback

Pages: 368

Cost: Rs. 328 (Paperback), Rs. 299.25 (Kindle Edition), Rs. 340 (Hardcover)

Plot:

On the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from Bombay takes up residence in a cloistered community in New York's Greenwich Village. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and an unmistakable air of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons: agoraphobic, alcoholic Petya; Apu, the flamboyant artist; and D, who harbours an explosive secret even from himself.

The story of the powerful Golden family is told from the point of view of their neighbour and confidant, René, an aspiring filmmaker. The Golden House is about- where we were before 26/11, where we are today, and how we got here. 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.

Review:

The Golden House trots along the Obama era years, from his inauguration on 20th January 2009 up to the election that gave us our 45th president. This political period is the mirror against which these characters see their lives unfolding, crumbling, and transforming.

The book introduces the readers to Nero Golden and family thorough the eyes of their neighbour René, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he gets drawn to their household. He is in a way involved in every aspect of their lives: in their quarrels, their infidelities, and their crimes.

The author has commented on American culture, smashing the common perceptions around it. His subjects of discussion range from- Black Lives Matter to the collapse of the housing market to transgender transformation and everywhere in between.

Rushdie’s insightful narrative is at times shocking because of its absolute accuracy about our cultural climate and the 45th president:

“…the Joker shrieked…in that bubble…gun murderers were exercising their constitutional rights, but the parents of murdered children were un-American…”

There are mentions of numerous mythological characters: Jason and his Argonauts chasing the Golden Fleece, Apuleius’ story of metamorphosis in The Golden Ass, Roman Emperors, Furies, Muses, Hubris, Nemesis, the gods Dionysius and Pan. Troy and Rome, gentle and toxic both at once, over-layer their images on present-day New York and Mumbai.

Set against the strange and energetic backdrop of current American culture and politics, The Golden House also marks Salman Rushdie’s triumphant and exciting return to realism.

About the Author:

Of Indian origin, Sir Ahmad Salman Rushdie born on 18 June 1947 is one of the best living writers in English. Combining historical fiction with magical realism, Rushdie has been courting controversy ever since Midnight's Children was published in 1981. The novel went onto win the Booker Prize. He is the author of six novels: Grimus, Midnight's Children, which won the Booker Prize in 1981 and the James Tait Black Prize; Shame- winner of the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger; The Satanic Verses which won the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel; Haroun and the Sea of Stories which won the Writer's Guild Award and The Moor's Last Sigh which won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award. He has also published a collection of short stories East, West, a book of reportage The Jaguar Smile, a volume of essays ‘Imaginary Homelands’, and a work of film criticism ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

Salman Rushdie was awarded Germany's Author of the Year Award for his novel The Satanic Verses in 1989. In 1993, Midnight's Children was voted the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. In the same year, he was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. He is also an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His books have been published in more than two dozen languages.


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