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REVIEW The Golden House

E 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 ueen to his king a ueen in want of an heirOur guide to the Goldens’ world is their neighbor René an ambitious young filmmaker Researching a movie about the Goldens he ingratiates himself into their household Seduced by their mystiue he is inevitably implica. Originally appeared here The world has turned into a cacophony of unrelenting voices where people in high offices as well as pedestrian consorts battle every day to be one up The lines have blurred as issues have bulldozed their way against most conventions right into our living rooms and administrative as well as clandestine powers are clashing regularly and vehemently across continents over the fatal flames of terrorism corruption religion and human rights Bringing together these critical elements under a sprawling tale of love ambition deception and collapse is what The Golden House is all aboutOn one silent day when Nero Golden the enigmatic octogenarian patriarch of a family of four tip toes into a lavish mansion in downtown Manhattan the neighbours antennae go up without exception Nothing is known about the family its past its roots its business its relations Nero s three sons Petya Apu and D wander under eually mysterious pseudonyms and their circle remains sanctified of any unfamiliar trouble Filthy rich and unusually secretive they at once catch the fancy of their 20 something neighbour Ren an aspiring filmmaker whose search for a subject to feed his magnum opus had till then been elusive The fa ade might have worked well had not a Russian missile come surreptitiously and hit the Goldens with scorching heat one evening the ravishing Vasilisa The tremors she sends across the bricks of the Golden House impales the garbs of its inhabitants and in their vulnerable faces we gradually see a lot of usChronicling the USA of Obama and Trump Sir Rushdie writes with his trademark erudition and flamboyance taking digs at the political mayhem the American soil has gotten embroiled into From outright flimsy reasons triggering furore to the politically driven human rights issues and to even likening the current Presidential rule to the Orwellian 1984 world he spins the febrile web of the socio political fabric of America with surgical precision Spring the last of the ice gone from the Hudson and happy sails breaking out across the weekend water Drought in California Oscars for Birdman but no superheroes available in Gotham The Joker was on TV announcing a run for president along with the rest of the Suicide Suad There was still than a year and a half of the current president s term to run but I was missing him already and nostalgic for the present Closer home he doesn t spare the vandals of now inevitable secularistic dissent and terrorist attacks 2611 Mumbai is invoked and so is the abhorrent slavery to corruption and the mastery of Sir Rushdie lies in bringing these two worlds that of America and India so tantalizingly close and to a common ground of the bizarrely chaotic While oscillating between the cinematic advent of Marvel Comics binge and the 1993 Mumbai blasts Gamergate and beef ban one recognizes this work to be a dazzling collage of double zeitgeist not to be missedOn the humane and moralistic aspects Sir Rushdie s prose swells like air and fills the narrative space with believable characters that are strong yet flawed I found the Golden brothers to bear uncanny resemblance to the three brothers in Dostoevsky s The Brothers Karamazov why even the eldest one is named Petya Well the genteel characterization of their strengths and fears their shrewdness and vulnerability points towards a place where they reflect the society we live in and in some way become our kin One might be tempted to give a bear hug to D who grapples under an identity crisis or an evening to Petya whose agoraphobia warrants a walk in the nearby Gardens or a lift to Apu whose demons come to haunt him Whether it is the fight to keep the Ren Suchitra relationship alive or the urge to stall the arrival of Alzheimer into Nero s life under the pitch dark skies of seduction and treachery lies and loss the reader shall encounter redeeming sunshine of gender acceptance infallible love filial loyalty and intellectual futility The river of his thought was no longer clear its water an opaue and muddied flow and within it his consciousness was slowly losing its grip on chronology on what was then what now what was waking truth and what had been born in the fairyland of dreams The library of time was disordered its categories jumbled its indexes scrambled or destroyed Making our narrator Ren a filmmaker turns out to be a very smart move Apart from sprinkling generous movie recommendations like Volker Schl ndorff s Swann in Love Robert Wiene s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and Satyajit Ray s Pather Panchali the narrator s profession facilitates to keep the viewfinder largely unrestricted despite the limitation of a first person account His role provides the book s structure a legitimate trail of imagination wherein he can relay a scene which he wasn t privy to and yet pass it with the stamp of veracity Can a person be both good and evil The Golden House is a towering novel carrying sagacious meditation on human emotions and desires and weaving their many threads into weapons that slither too close issuing a resounding warning on the incredible proximity we have with one another and reminding us that no place no matter how far and conducive can absolve us of our past Note Thanks to Netgalley Salman Rushdie and Random House for providing me an ARC Also on my blog

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The Golden House

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 th. 45 stars Salman Rushdie s 13th novel The Golden House plays out as a Shakespearean drama re imagined in the eyes of a postmodernist and set in the Obama era of ultra riche Manhattan There how s that for an elevator pitch This novel is full of nostalgic references ornate erudite descriptions and high brow prose as you would expect from the man who brought us Midnight s Children and holds an esteemed Booker Prize I myself was first introduced to Salman Rushdie by Hanif Kureishi who wrote one of my favorite college reads The Black Album in response to the fatwah issued by Islamic fundamentalists intent on killing Rushdie for writing his 4th novel The Satanic Verses So you can imagine the anticipation I felt to finally meet this great novelist and essayist up close and in person for myself or as up close and in person as one s words on a page will allow us to get to the true author themselvesAnd here you have it Sit back and imagine this The Golden House trots along the Obama era years from his inauguration on January 20 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 Nero Golden and his household of three sons of which he is the godlike patriarch are expatriates of an unnamed country which is eventually named after a terrorist tragedy takes the life of their matriarch and shady financial deals finish them off in their homeland sending the family to New York to rebuild their lives with the help of their obscene and conspicuous wealth by way of the American Dream They move into a mega mansion in an affluent neighborhood in Manhattan where all 22 homes of the community back into a luxurious garden oasis that the families all collectively enjoy It is in this near utopian communal setting where lives begin to cross and our narrator Ren is met by the leading family We follow him on his journey to infiltrate observe and ultimately document the Golden lives in a film he s been longing to make but isn t really sure of how to go about doing Along the way characters come and go As the modern day Julio Claudian drama unfolds death occurs Birth occurs Marriage occurs The saga of their lives unfolds shatters melts down and repairs never in that orderIf you re looking for a single word to describe this novel a good starting place would be dense though I cannot argue that it is unnecessarily so and the read certainly wouldn t have been the same without this aspect Literary allusions call me Ishmael abound on every page here and uite honestly you might want to have a digital encyclopedia on hand for uick reference through some of these passages Chinese hexagrams of divination for example But I loved that reveled in it for the most part in fact because this enlightened display of narrative talent played with so many forms of storytelling from conventional narrative formatting to scenes written as screenplays from the use of uotations marks to the use of not a one and back again It was a journey but at least it was a ride too crossing the lines of contemporary fiction postmodernism and metafiction Here you ll find wry social commentary that crackles and pops with dry irony heaped on in healthy doses so that no culture past or present Eastern or Western is safe from the scrutinizing eye though with the backdrop of this novel being set specifically against the Obama era much of the commentary hits hard on American culture smashing up against it forcefully and knocking down our perception of it knocking down the barriers around talking about it from Black Lives Matter to the collapse of the housing market to transgender transformation and everywhere in between Once upon a timeif a boy liked pink and dolls his parents would be afraid he was homosexual and try to interest him in boy stuffthey might have doubts about his orientation but it wouldn t occur to them to uestion his gender Now it seems you go to the other extreme Instead of saying the kid s a pansy you start trying to persuade him he s a girl What is American culture This novel dares to seriously ask often pokes fun at and ultimately explores no turns inside out this beloved clich we and the world over cling to called the American Dream from the viewpoint of the transplant from the viewpoint of those ultimately in search of themselves in the whirlwind that is our lives in our culture today I could feel it the anger of the unjustly dead the young men shot for walking in a stairwell while black the young child shot for playing with a plastic gun in a playground while black all the daily black death of America screaming out that they deserved to live and I could feel too the fury of white America at having to put up with a black man in a white house and the frothing hatred of the homophobesthe blue collar anger of everyone who had been Fannie Mae d and Freddie Mac d by the housing calamity all the discontent of a furiously divided country everyone believing they were right Rushdie s insightful narrative is at times chilling in its acute accuracy about our cultural climate and our 45th president the Joker shriekedin that bubblegun murderers were exercising their constitutional rights but the parents of murdered children were un Americanmass deportations would be a good thing and women reporters would be seen to be unreliable because they had blood coming out of their whatevers and made The Golden House a complete package which managed to be both entertaining and at times mildly surreal with the help of a wink toward a avant garde formatting techniue and a nod toward the magically real I navigated this novel with the sense of one at their grandfather s knee he with brandy and cigar in hand hearing a tale that was often fascinating in its baroueness The Golden House is chocked full of so many things we love in reads solid plotting whimsy and intellectual stimuli which made the ornate density of this novel worth persevering through in the end and that both stirred and excited my reader soul like a hearty helping of literary gumbo you have to close your eyes and smile to enjoy adding depth to the layers of the pages of these words And that was easily enough for 45 stars I received a copy of this novel from the publisher Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewFOLLOW ME HEREGoodreads Twitter Instagram Get a Copy of My Book Book Editing Author Coaching 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Ted in their uarrels 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 downSet 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 ag. Once upon a time a great man fled from his native country a land embattled by infighting and death and came to a country filled with dreams of a future of hope and promise Ah yes an apt description of Salman Rushdie and his primary character in The Golden House Nero Golden As I read through this verbose tale of the egotistical Golden I realized that this was in fact a veiled auto biography of Rushdie intended or otherwise most likely not In The Golden House Nero Golden has immigrated to the US under secret circumstances with his adult children all of whom have assumed Roman names Petronius or Petya Lucius Apuleius or Apu and Dionysius or D The family lives in downtown Manhattan in a gated community The story is narrated by Rene a neighbor and aspiring film maker who wants to make documentary about this mysterious family It takes nearly 200 pages for the reader to gather this information Additionally midway through the book the characters become involved in the contentious election of 2016 about which Rushdie makes his opinions very clear the winner being The Joker Seriously He has green hair I truly understand metaphorical writing I appreciate humor and certainly enjoy social commentary However I never fully understood into which of these The Golden House fell There was so much verbage so many ideas too many great uotes but they never were tied together cohesively If Midnight s Children was Rushdie in his brilliance this was Rushdie in full shade with the curtains drawn and all of his hidden thoughts allowed to run amuck Reading it was like watching a three ring circus without knowing where to look Do you follow Nero and his sons Rene and his ramblings The Joker and the election Look here look at me but you couldn t follow all three because they only were held together by a gossamer filamentRushdie attempts always to enlighten his readers with social themes political nuance global issues With The Golden House however his own personal discord and past have left us with a muddled mess If you have not read this author before please do so but begin with his earlier works Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for my copy of this book


10 thoughts on “The Golden House

  1. says:

    45 stars Salman Rushdie’s 13th novel The Golden House plays out as a Shakespearean drama re imagined in the eyes of a postmodernis

  2. says:

    “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down” —Kim Jong Un—Vladimir Putin—Donald Trump—The Big Bad WolfSighSalman Salman SalmanWe need to talkI revere you Mr Rushdie Not only do you put me in mind of a wise apothecarist straight from a Scheherezade tale but for three decades I’ve solidly sung your praises And your Booker winning epic Midnight’s Children is the one novel I’d take with me

  3. says:

    Searching for the right words to describe this book Rushdie's 13th and my very first foray into his oeuvre the best thing I can come up with is hot mess Overblown bombastic in parts melodramatic most of the way through mind numbingly boring in others pinged with moments of social satire and brillianceI'm such a rule follower I received the ARC of this book from Netgalley and felt a duty to finish this book and

  4. says:

    45 Stars “The Golden House” was my first book from Salman Rushdie his thirteenth novel to date It begins 20 January 2009 with Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th President of the United States setting the stage by reminding us of the economic ruin following the mortgage crisis that President Obama inherited On the same day Nero Golden his three sons Petronius or Petya Lucius Apuleius or Apu and Dionysius or

  5. says:

    Not sure why but I am finished Not entirely unlike trying to maintain with the lights on a pinball machineI’m grumpy when I’m disappointed At one point I stopped to check other reviews Maybe I picked up the wrong book Th

  6. says:

    Originally appeared here The world has turned into a cacophony of unrelenting voices where people in high offices as well as pedestrian consorts battle every day to be one up The lines have blurred as issues have bulldozed their way against most conventions right into our living rooms and administrative as well as clandestine powers are clashing regularly and vehemently across continents over the fatal flames of terro

  7. says:

    In Midnight's Children Rushdie diabolizes Indira Gandhi in the form of The Widow one of his most terrifying caricatures ‘green and black the Widow’s hair and clutching hand and children mmff and little balls and one by one and torn in hal

  8. says:

    Once upon a time a great man fled from his native country a land embattled by infighting and death and came to a country filled with dreams of a future of hope and promise Ah yes an apt description of Salman Rushdie and his primary character

  9. says:

    This is a book of stories and identity; actual created and retold as tales to others It uestions what we think about as truth especially when it comes to ourselves and others; what is said hidden implied or lied about? Can we ever really know ourselves when we are so immersed and intertwined with other peoples' stories with what they believe about us or want us to be? In this vortex of truth and lies is one really val

  10. says:

    This is a masterful literary achievement and a great lens on contemporary American culture from the perspective of an unusual immig

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