The Golden House Read & Download ä 109

Read & Download The Golden House

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 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 valid than the other?From the outset it reminded me somewhat of The Virgin Suicides enshrouded in a specific time that of vivid modernity but eually universal in the ways of human behaviour shadowed by that overwhelming feeling of impeding doom In case anyone thinks i'm giving something away please see the choice of RomanGreek names for the main characters Rushdie might as well have been shouting this is not going to end well The family treads the same path of decline as the America it inhabits from the hope of the Obama era to the what Rushdie envisions as the Joker presidency It could have been called The Fall of the Golden House Or perhaps that's sufficiently implied The Goldens all told stories about themselves stories in which essential information about origins was either omitted or falsified I listened to them not as 'true' but as indications of characterOf course the reader only 'knows' this Golden family through the eyes of outsider film director and neighbour Rene whose current project is to make a film telling their story The uestion never far from the mind is how much of what we are being told is real? Is it the truth as the Golden's would understand it? Far from reflecting the impartial gaze of the camera Rene's perceptions determine the narrative especially as his associations with the family become closer and complex This is reflected in the structure of the writing sometimes set up as a film script with directions and asides from the narrator It is not steady narrative it jumps from the 'we' of the collective habitants of 'The Gardens' surrounding Golden House to the 'I' of Rene to internal monologues he could only be imagining reported speech and even interjections from mythical characters of folklore like witch Baba Yaga These layered stories interspersed with freuent literary cultural and film uotation and reference combine to form a labyrinth of connected lives and ideas revealing how we use others' stories to illuminate our own sometimes guiding or bolstering our identity or even overwhelming who we are or who we might be In the end when it comes to people truth and reality may be nothing our own creations I'm also finally finishing up my Golden screenplay my faction about these men who made fictions of themselves and the two are blurring into each other until i'm not sure any what's real and what I made upI can see how others might find this too self referential too obviously clever but it's nevertheless my favourite since Midnight's Children As a commentary on modern society and contemporary ideas of truth and identity it's not to be missedARC via Netgalley Red Centre (Alpha Force, presidential run that turns New York upside downSet against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and Midnight Storm (The Warriors, 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 Heiresses powerful timely story told with the daring and The Major Works panache that make Salman Rushdie a force of light in our dark new ag 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 A Dirty War peoples' stories with what they believe about us or want us to be? In this vortex of truth and lies is one really valid than the other?From the outset it reminded me somewhat of The Virgin Suicides enshrouded in a specific time that of vivid modernity but eually universal in the ways of human behaviour shadowed by that overwhelming feeling of impeding doom In case anyone thinks i'm giving something away Blood Money (Alpha Force, please see the choice of RomanGreek names for the main characters Rushdie might as well have been shouting this is not going to end well The family treads the same Sid James path of decline as the America it inhabits from the hope of the Obama era to the what Rushdie envisions as the Joker Succubus T06 Succubus Revealed presidency It could have been called The Fall of the Golden House Or Snow Dog perhaps that's sufficiently implied The Goldens all told stories about themselves stories in which essential information about origins was either omitted or falsified I listened to them not as 'true' but as indications of characterOf course the reader only 'knows' this Golden family through the eyes of outsider film director and neighbour Rene whose current Girl Seven (London Underground, project is to make a film telling their story The uestion never far from the mind is how much of what we are being told is real? Is it the truth as the Golden's would understand it? Far from reflecting the impartial gaze of the camera Rene's The Happiness Purpose perceptions determine the narrative especially as his associations with the family become closer and complex This is reflected in the structure of the writing sometimes set up as a film script with directions and asides from the narrator It is not steady narrative it jumps from the 'we' of the collective habitants of 'The Gardens' surrounding Golden House to the 'I' of Rene to internal monologues he could only be imagining reported speech and even interjections from mythical characters of folklore like witch Baba Yaga These layered stories interspersed with freuent literary cultural and film uotation and reference combine to form a labyrinth of connected lives and ideas revealing how we use others' stories to illuminate our own sometimes guiding or bolstering our identity or even overwhelming who we are or who we might be In the end when it comes to A Candle For The Devil people truth and reality may be nothing our own creations I'm also finally finishing up my Golden screenplay my faction about these men who made fictions of themselves and the two are blurring into each other until i'm not sure any what's real and what I made upI can see how others might find this too self referential too obviously clever but it's nevertheless my favourite since Midnight's Children As a commentary on modern society and contemporary ideas of truth and identity it's not to be missedARC via Netgalley

Read & Download ✓ E-book, or Kindle E-pub Û Salman Rushdie

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 “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 if I were banished to a desert island I sincerely hope that this punishment isn’t meted out Mr Rushdie but I can assure you that the aforementioned book would be the exact one I’d take Why am I talking to him? Is he even reading this? And yet despite my enduring faith in the mastery of your storytelling you’ve dulled the shine of my veneration by writing Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights and now this Another sighLess of a structured novel and a rambling stream of Rushdie’s consciousness this amorphous solilouy is rammed to the rafters with a farrago of all that ails and delights one of our greatest living authors about our modern world Nero Golden a mysterious tycoon with a sketchy past voluntarily exiles his family from BombayMumbai and moves to a voluminous mansion in affluent Manhattan Nero has aged like a fine wine; he’s as perspicacious as he is formidable and speaks several languages His story is told by a neighbour René Underlinden an amateur filmmaker who makes a mockumentary of the Golden family's expat life in Obama’s AmericaNow I was told from an early age that one should never discuss politics or religion; but Salman clearly didn’t listen to his mum because he attacks these social taboos with an unashamed gusto mischievously drawing parallels between bible belt bigots and Muslim extremists And yes despite being one of our most eminent writers he’s as fond of a stereotype as an Irishman is fond of a Guinness ; And if you’re a Trump supporter as half of America appear to be please please don’t read this book Rushdie really has it in for the man Donald is likened to The Joker Hillary is portrayed as Batgirl He is of course free to write whatever he wants but regardless of my own feelings towards America’s forty fifth president I’m not convinced that the immersive otherworld of a fictional novel is really the appropriate place to air such views Anyway back to the story Nero’s cosy new life in his adoptive home is turned on its head by Vasila Arsenyeva a long limbed gold digging Siberian bombshell who is as silent and as haughty as a cat and whose inner self has been consumed uite literally by Baba Yoga the child eating witch There ensues an allegorical tale warning of the pitfalls that await each of the world’s most powerful narcissists Nero’s predictive name of course giving us something of a clue as to his destinyI must confess that getting through this novel was a war of attrition at times but I'm still not giving up on one of my very favourite authors; the great man’s authorial impishness and his artifice can still be seen glowing in the embers of his writing Sir Salman mate it’s not too late for you to rise again from the ashes Come on over to my place for a tête à tête We share an interest in magical realism Marvel comics arthouse movies and dwatted wabbits We could fix this slump in form over a nice pot of tea perhaps even a naked wrestle in front of a roaring fire like Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in Women in Love if that’s to your liking?On reflection we’d best stick with the tea35 stars Reckless Karma (Sinners & Saints, 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 A Girl Called Dog put me in mind of a wise apothecarist straight from a Scheherezade tale but for three decades I’ve solidly sung your Ashamed praises And your Booker winning epic Midnight’s Children is the one novel I’d take with me if I were banished to a desert island I sincerely hope that this A Jealous Ghost punishment isn’t meted out Mr Rushdie but I can assure you that the aforementioned book would be the exact one I’d take Why am I talking to him? Is he even reading this? And yet despite my enduring faith in the mastery of your storytelling you’ve dulled the shine of my veneration by writing Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights and now this Another sighLess of a structured novel and a rambling stream of Rushdie’s consciousness this amorphous solilouy is rammed to the rafters with a farrago of all that ails and delights one of our greatest living authors about our modern world Nero Golden a mysterious tycoon with a sketchy A Liverpool Lass past voluntarily exiles his family from BombayMumbai and moves to a voluminous mansion in affluent Manhattan Nero has aged like a fine wine; he’s as Women and the National Experience perspicacious as he is formidable and speaks several languages His story is told by a neighbour René Underlinden an amateur filmmaker who makes a mockumentary of the Golden family's expat life in Obama’s AmericaNow I was told from an early age that one should never discuss An Unsuitable Duchess politics or religion; but Salman clearly didn’t listen to his mum because he attacks these social taboos with an unashamed gusto mischievously drawing Monsieur Proust parallels between bible belt bigots and Muslim extremists And yes despite being one of our most eminent writers he’s as fond of a stereotype as an Irishman is fond of a Guinness ; And if you’re a Trump supporter as half of America appear to be Hummelhonung please Old Yukon please don’t read this book Rushdie really has it in for the man Donald is likened to The Joker Hillary is Making As in College portrayed as Batgirl He is of course free to write whatever he wants but regardless of my own feelings towards America’s forty fifth Angel of Brooklyn president I’m not convinced that the immersive otherworld of a fictional novel is really the appropriate Seve place to air such views Anyway back to the story Nero’s cosy new life in his adoptive home is turned on its head by Vasila Arsenyeva a long limbed gold digging Siberian bombshell who is as silent and as haughty as a cat and whose inner self has been consumed uite literally by Baba Yoga the child eating witch There ensues an allegorical tale warning of the The Tower pitfalls that await each of the world’s most Stuff powerful narcissists Nero’s Top Gear predictive name of course giving us something of a clue as to his destinyI must confess that getting through this novel was a war of attrition at times but I'm still not giving up on one of my very favourite authors; the great man’s authorial impishness and his artifice can still be seen glowing in the embers of his writing Sir Salman mate it’s not too late for you to rise again from the ashes Come on over to my Trick or Treatment place for a tête à tête We share an interest in magical realism Marvel comics arthouse movies and dwatted wabbits We could fix this slump in form over a nice Skyborn (Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith, pot of tea The Rage perhaps even a naked wrestle in front of a roaring fire like Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in Women in Love if that’s to your liking?On reflection we’d best stick with the tea35 stars

Salman Rushdie Û 9 Read & Download

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 René an aspiring filmmaker whose search for a subject to feed his magnum opus had till then been elusive The façade 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 René 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 René a filmmaker turns out to be a very smart move Apart from sprinkling generous movie recommendations like Volker Schlöndorff’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 Angel of Brooklyn people in high offices as well as Seve 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 The Tower 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 Stuff 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 Top Gear past its roots its business its relations Nero’s three sons Petya Apu and D wander under eually mysterious Trick or Treatment 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 René an aspiring filmmaker whose search for a subject to feed his magnum opus had till then been elusive The façade 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 Skyborn (Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith, political mayhem the American soil has gotten embroiled into From outright flimsy reasons triggering furore to the The Rage 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 Bronc Buster political fabric of America with surgical April Lady 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 JUST SAY FUCK! president along with the rest of the Suicide Suad There was still than a year and a half of the current The Periodic Table of FOOTBALL president’s term to run but I was missing him already and nostalgic for the Kwame Alexander 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 The Small Bachelor 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 Mary Berrys Foolproof Cakes points towards a The Temple-Goers 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 René Suchitra relationship alive or the urge to stall the arrival of Alzheimer into Nero’s life under the Collected Poems 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 René a filmmaker turns out to be a very smart move Apart from sprinkling generous movie recommendations like Volker Schlöndorff’s ‘Swann in Love’ Robert Wiene’s 'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ and Satyajit Ray’s ‘Pather Panchali’ the narrator’s Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? profession facilitates to keep the viewfinder largely unrestricted despite the limitation of a first The Tao of Jack person account His role Soma provides the book’s structure a legitimate trail of imagination wherein he can relay a scene which he wasn’t Lead the Way privy to and yet The Rig Veda pass it with the stamp of veracity Can a The Silver Spoon of Solomon Snow 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 SEXUAL BORDERLANDS proximity we have with one another and reminding us that no Faerie Heart place no matter how far and conducive can absolve us of our Starlight past Note Thanks to Netgalley Salman Rushdie and Random House for The Wish Maker providing me an ARC Also on my blog


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 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 René 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 cliché 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 Submit Your Book to Me


  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 if I were banished to a desert island I sincerely hope that this punishment isn’t meted out Mr Rushdie but I can assure you that the aforementioned book would be the exact one I’d take Why am I talking to him? Is he even reading this? And yet despite my enduring faith in the mastery of your storytelling you’ve dulled the shine of my veneration by writing Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights and now this Another sighLess of a structured novel and a rambling stream of Rushdie’s consciousness this amorphous solilouy is rammed to the rafters with a farrago of all that ails and delights one of our greatest living authors about our modern world Nero Golden a mysterious tycoon with a sketchy past voluntarily exiles his family from BombayMumbai and moves to a voluminous mansion in affluent Manhattan Nero has aged like a fine wine; he’s as perspicacious as he is formidable and speaks several languages His story is told by a neighbour René Underlinden an amateur filmmaker who makes a mockumentary of the Golden family's expat life in Obama’s AmericaNow I was told from an early age that one should never discuss politics or religion; but Salman clearly didn’t listen to his mum because he attacks these social taboos with an unashamed gusto mischievously drawing parallels between bible belt bigots and Muslim extremists And yes despite being one of our most eminent writers he’s as fond of a stereotype as an Irishman is fond of a Guinness ; And if you’re a Trump supporter as half of America appear to be please please don’t read this book Rushdie really has it in for the man Donald is likened to The Joker Hillary is portrayed as Batgirl He is of course free to write whatever he wants but regardless of my own feelings towards America’s forty fifth president I’m not convinced that the immersive otherworld of a fictional novel is really the appropriate place to air such views Anyway back to the story Nero’s cosy new life in his adoptive home is turned on its head by Vasila Arsenyeva a long limbed gold digging Siberian bombshell who is as silent and as haughty as a cat and whose inner self has been consumed uite literally by Baba Yoga the child eating witch There ensues an allegorical tale warning of the pitfalls that await each of the world’s most powerful narcissists Nero’s predictive name of course giving us something of a clue as to his destinyI must confess that getting through this novel was a war of attrition at times but I'm still not giving up on one of my very favourite authors; the great man’s authorial impishness and his artifice can still be seen glowing in the embers of his writing Sir Salman mate it’s not too late for you to rise again from the ashes Come on over to my place for a tête à tête We share an interest in magical realism Marvel comics arthouse movies and dwatted wabbits We could fix this slump in form over a nice pot of tea perhaps even a naked wrestle in front of a roaring fire like Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in Women in Love if that’s to your liking?On reflection we’d best stick with the tea35 stars


  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 write this review hence I finished this book to its very last page If I were free spirited like many of my brilliant book abandoning life is too short friends I would not have slogged my way through the first THIRD of this book in which nothing actually happens and the very annoying narrator continually alludes to things happening in the future in a very overwrought and unnecessarily mysterious fashionThe story revolves around the Golden family three sons lead by their criminal father who because of his criminal associations leave their country of origin and reinvent themselves in Manhattan They all take very poncey new names and are ultimately punished for this disingenuous reinventionThe narrator is a neighbour who somehow inveigles into the family He's a wannabe filmmaker and thus his narrative is positively peppered with pop culture references movies books and the like to the point where my throat burned with the over spiciness of it all Instead of being enjoyable it felt overdone and try hard and exhausting to readThe rise and fall of this family is elevated to ridiculous levels of importance But where Rushdie really got my attention is when he began making timely connections between the state of the nation during the time leading up to the current US presidential election and the state of the Golden house writing some incredible damning passages that leave no ambiguity to his feelings towards the 45th president These passages are powerful stunning and show a fiery mastery of politicalsocial commentary In that bubble razor tipped playing cards were funny and lapel flowers that sprayed acid into people's faces were funny and wishing you could have sex with your daughter was funny and sarcasm was funny even when what was called sarcasm was not sarcastic and lying was funny and hatred was funny and bigotry was funny and bullying was funny and the date was or almost was or might soon be if the jokes worked out as they should nineteen eighty fourThe parallels between Golden and the current president referred to as the Joker are unmistakable even Golden's somewhat entertaining Melania like second wife However I found it rambling overwritten and heavy handed Not terribly compelling for me as a novel Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


  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 D arrive in the US from an unnamed country of origin moving into a new abode in the “Gardens” an exclusive area of Greenwich Village where all of the 22 houses are linked connected by their garden hidden away from the city Petya 40 an agoraphobic and an alcoholic and Apu 41 an attention seeking artist were born slightly less than one year apart they share the same mother and even the same zodiac sign Dionysius has no recollection of his mother and is still a relatively young 22 Eventually Nero Golden in his early 70s brings into their new home a new wife Vasilisa a Russian expatriateTheir neighbor René who loves the gardens all things of beauty is drawn to the Goldens; in them he sees a story that needs to be told His passion is filmmaking; he sees himself as the artist painting their murky lives as he sees them so that others will see them clearly as well ”He leaned forward when standing or walking as if struggling constantly against a strong wind only he could feel bent a little from the waist but not too much This was a powerful man; no than that—a man deeply in love with the idea of himself as powerful”Relatively early on in this novel the era of Obama at the helm draw to a close and the elections for the 45th President are on everyone’s minds including the media ”He was dangling his wickedness under our noses reveling in it challenging us to see it contemptuous of our powers of comprehension convinced of his ability easily to defeat anyone who rose against him”Rushdie’s observations from our past political election are uite accurate if perhaps coloured by his personal vision His many thoughts regarding this man who would become President with his “colored hair” and bearing leaving no doubt of his opinions on this topic ”Sometimes watching him I thought of Dr Frankenstein’s monster a simulacrum of the human that entirely failed to express any true humanity”I would not describe reading this as a challenge but rather a story you can’t really allow your attention to wander or get sidetracked Every sentence seems to carry importance than most contemporary fiction and Rushdie isn’t an author who injects wide spaces long pauses between thoughts so this book feels extensive than most but I thoroughly enjoyed it Pub Date 05 Sep 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House


  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 The one that I was looking forward to The one with the rave reviews is waiting for meNope not for me Fortunately the library wants it back


  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 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 René an aspiring filmmaker whose search for a subject to feed his magnum opus had till then been elusive The façade 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 René 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 René a filmmaker turns out to be a very smart move Apart from sprinkling generous movie recommendations like Volker Schlöndorff’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


  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 half and little balls go flying green black her hand is green her nails are black as black’ Some years later in The Satanic Verses he tried something similar by turning Britain's Prime Minister into ‘Mrs Torture’ Now – no longer plain old Rushdie but an ennobled Sir Salman – he has Donald J Trump in his sights reimagined in The Golden House as ‘the Joker’ come to exploit an America stupid from superhero moviesThe origins of the Joker were disputed the man himself seemed to enjoy allowing contradictory versions to fight for air space but on one fact everyone passionate supporters and bitter antagonists was agreed he was utterly and certifiably insane What was astonishing what made this an election year like no other was that people backed him because he was insane not in spite of it What would have disualified any other candidate made him his followers' hero Sikh taxi drivers and rodeo cowboys rabid alt right blondes and black brain surgeons agreed we love his craziness no miluetoast euphemisms from him he shoots straight from the hip says whatever he fucking wants to say robs whatever bank he's in the mood to rob kills whoever he feels like killing he's our guyThe Joker is a background presence in this book and only gets talked about in the final third; the main focus is on the immigrant vulgarian Nero Golden who is himself a Trumpian analogue with the same speech patterns putative wealth and need to put his name ‘on everything from hot dogs to for profit universities’ The growth of Nero's empire in the US and its effect on his three sons forms the narrative arc of the novel as observed by our narrator the Belgian American filmmaker RenéSeveral problems The main one is that the story is not especially engaging for the most part we just plod along hearing little snippets of soap opera gossip from each son in turn related to us in a strangely distant elegiac tone that strips away any immediacy from the prose One longs for a hint of that exuberance that marked Rushdie's writing in the 80s and early 90s Narrator René compares himself to Isherwood at some point – ‘I am a camera’ – and comments ‘Maybe I'm a smart camera I record but I'm not exactly passive’ But despite his involvement in the plot he is passive and I didn't care about a single person he described The writing is terribly pedestrian for someone who has written the kind of things Rushdie has written While Indira Gandhi's India and Thatcher's Britain were explored from within experientially Trump's America is simply pointed at like a news report and said to be awfulAlong the way there are some game efforts to examine the key concerns of twenty first century America – the youngest Golden son for instance feels uncomfortable as a man and is encouraged to transition to a different gender I thought at first that this might be an interesting exploration building on a fleeting reference to India's hijra tradition but the results are disappointing he meets a sticky end and his social justice girlfriend comes to the conclusion that identity politics are all a big mistake after all I am not unsympathetic to that view but here it just felt a lot like the thoughts of a seventy year old author than a twentysomething arts curator Ian McEwan also touched on this subject in Nutshell but the difference is that McEwan's prose was pure fireworksOccasionally there are outright blunders This could have come from Dan BrownIn the game of chess the move known as the ueen's Gambit is almost never used because it gives up the most powerful piece on the board for the sake of a risky positional advantage Only the true grandmasters would attempt so daring a maneuver the laying down of the ueen to kill the kingThe ueen's gambit involves putting a pawn on the fourth rank during the opening and has nothing to do with sacrificing the ueen as a pieceTo be sure when Rushdie is talking about things that I think he cares about – primarily the 2016 US election and the 2008 Mumbai attacks – the energy picks up a bit the sentences become breathless and pacy and you start to take notice I loved for example his heartfelt reflection of how people coped with the dazed sense of reality after Trump was electedHow does one live amongst one's fellow countrymen and countrywomen when you don't know which of them is numbered amongst the sixty million plus who brought the horror to power when you can't tell who should be counted among the ninety million plus who shrugged and stayed home or when your fellow Americans tell you that knowing things is élitist and they hate élites and all you have ever had is your mind and you were brought up to believe in the loveliness of knowledge not that knowledge is power nonsense but knowledge is beauty and then all of that education art music film becomes a reason for being loathed and the creature out of Spiritus Mundi rises up and slouches toward Washington DC to be bornPerhaps it is worth reading the book for the paragraphs like this that crop up in its final sections But I wish he had just written an article about Trump and not tried to buttress it up with all the architecture of a novel filled with characters I never had much interest in Nor I suspect did he In the future I think it may be interesting to look back on The Golden House as an example of how great writers reacted to Trump's win as it was happening but perhaps there isn't enough distance yet to really treat the subject with the full artistic arsenal that it demands In this case it's of a gilded failure than the twenty four carat success I was crossing my fingers for


  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 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


  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 valid than the other?From the outset it reminded me somewhat of The Virgin Suicides enshrouded in a specific time that of vivid modernity but eually universal in the ways of human behaviour shadowed by that overwhelming feeling of impeding doom In case anyone thinks i'm giving something away please see the choice of RomanGreek names for the main characters Rushdie might as well have been shouting this is not going to end well The family treads the same path of decline as the America it inhabits from the hope of the Obama era to the what Rushdie envisions as the Joker presidency It could have been called The Fall of the Golden House Or perhaps that's sufficiently implied The Goldens all told stories about themselves stories in which essential information about origins was either omitted or falsified I listened to them not as 'true' but as indications of characterOf course the reader only 'knows' this Golden family through the eyes of outsider film director and neighbour Rene whose current project is to make a film telling their story The uestion never far from the mind is how much of what we are being told is real? Is it the truth as the Golden's would understand it? Far from reflecting the impartial gaze of the camera Rene's perceptions determine the narrative especially as his associations with the family become closer and complex This is reflected in the structure of the writing sometimes set up as a film script with directions and asides from the narrator It is not steady narrative it jumps from the 'we' of the collective habitants of 'The Gardens' surrounding Golden House to the 'I' of Rene to internal monologues he could only be imagining reported speech and even interjections from mythical characters of folklore like witch Baba Yaga These layered stories interspersed with freuent literary cultural and film uotation and reference combine to form a labyrinth of connected lives and ideas revealing how we use others' stories to illuminate our own sometimes guiding or bolstering our identity or even overwhelming who we are or who we might be In the end when it comes to people truth and reality may be nothing our own creations I'm also finally finishing up my Golden screenplay my faction about these men who made fictions of themselves and the two are blurring into each other until i'm not sure any what's real and what I made upI can see how others might find this too self referential too obviously clever but it's nevertheless my favourite since Midnight's Children As a commentary on modern society and contemporary ideas of truth and identity it's not to be missedARC via Netgalley


  10. says:

    This is a masterful literary achievement and a great lens on contemporary American culture from the perspective of an unusual immigrant family The Goldens—an old man named Nero and his three adult sons arrive in Manhattan around 2008 and take up residence in a mansion that shares a common garden park with a small neighborhood of wealthy residents Our narrator who calls himself Rene is an aspiring film maker in his twenties who is still living with his parents in the same neighborhood and who becomes obsessed with the mystery and allure of the Goldens Their story is that they simply chose to leave their life in unnamed country to create a new life in America By ingratiating himself with the family Rene soon learns small pieces of their hidden story in particular that they are escaping from some disaster that included a tragic death of Nero’s wife and that Nero had some connection with gangsters Whatever unknown crimes are waiting for him to uncover Rene is captivated by Nero’s overall modus operandi he was they all were in the grip of a huge fantasy the idea that men would not be judged by who they once were and what they had once done if only they decided to be differentRene’s compulsion to figure out what makes the Golden’s tick becomes linked to his ambition to make a great movie based on their lives A movie with parallels to “Rear Window” or “The Great Gatsby” As he slowly becomes effectively a member of their family he learns their secrets piece by piece The mythic overtones are already there in their adoption of names in their new country—eg Nero for the tyrannical Roman emperor and one son with the name of the god Dionysus The oldest son Petronius aka Peyra is brilliant in mathematics and writing computer games but is socially clumsy and suffers from agoraphobia and an Asperger like condition The second son Lucius Apuleius Apu for short is a “gluttonous agoraphile” who sought out the varieties of life in the city “like a young Whtiman” became an avante garde artist and “came to be thought of as a magic creature an escapee from a fairy tale though nobody could say if he was charmed or doomed” While these two were over 40 Dionysus who goes by “D” is 20 years younger a sensitive man who turns out to have gender identity issues He loves a woman who runs the “Museum of Identity” and who pressures him to make the transgender metamorphosis a jump he balks at and leads him to much anguish A final key character is an elegant Russian woman of 28 Vasilisa who picks Nero as her husband and Tsar of money and power Rene is writing from some point in the future which is the reader’s contemporary time at the end of 2016 He warns us that he is an unreliable narrator Maybe I am a smart camera I record but I’m not exactly passive I think I alter Possibly I even invent To be an imaginer after all is very different from being a literalistProspective readers might consider this set up and become wary over whether this book is for them Like me maybe they doubt whether the lives of the powerful and wealthy would be compelling Maybe through “The Sopranos” and “The Godfather” you believe you have had your fill of exploring the human side of those who struggle to live with their ill gotten gains But this is something different It feels like a true portrait of America as a field of dreams and tragic disappointments spanning the interval between the election of Obama and that of Trump As the plot unfolds and Rene crosses the line from observer to a serious participant in the drama and unfolding tragedies in the Golden’s lives we are embedded a lot of substantive moral choices about how we should live our lives While being taxed to judge and figure out the characters before me on Rene’s stage I was delightfully dizzied by all the help proffered from the wise men of history and truth wizards of our current time Allusions abound in every paragraph—from movies and literature to songs and slogans from popular culture Instead of cryptic references or obscure allegory that you can encounter with a Nabokov or Joyce most of such stretches of context and framing are clear and bound well into the lively dialogue and situations of the characters You may only have a dim conception of say the Greek plays of Aristophanes or the movies of Luis Bunuel but a deftly explained and relevant reference to them is satisfactorily uplifting and edifying for me It begins to sink in that the issues of lofty figures from Homer or Shakespeare have their counterpart in the lives of the novel’s characters and in turn the average readerThe tone the narrator takes wavers between the casually intimate to mock epic in scope I loved that variety With a simple word or phrase—“Cut” “Fade to black”—Rene’s narration puts a smile on my face as a collaborating camera man I appreciated Rene’s stated ambition of transmuting the lives of “real” characters into film tropes as the reverse of Woody Allen’s play on film characters breaking out into real life in his “Purple Rose of Cairo” Despite this kind of romping Rushie claimed in a recent PBS interview that his goal with the book was to convey to his readers a vision of “how things really are” and hopefully in the course of time to be able to evoke the reaction that “this is how things really were” In the background of the story Trump as a nameless candidate appears as a green haired Joker of comic book fame No magical realism here During this period Rene makes money helping his lover create satirical political advertising for the other candidate who is portrayed as Batwoman in various scenarios Rushie emphasizes the critical need at this time for laugher noting that he has Trump figure “cackling at the edges of the story” I think for many of us the collision of reality and unreality is well summed up in Rene’s internal pondering here How does one live amongst one’s fellow countrymen and countrywomen when you don’t know which of them is numbered against the sixty million plus who brought the horror to power when you can’t tell who should be counted among the ninety million plus who shrugged and stayed home or when your fellow Americans tell you that knowing things is elitist and that they hate all elites and then all of that education art music film becomes a reason for being loathed and the creature out of Spiritus Mundi rises up and slouches toward Washington DC to be bornThe story Rene wants to forge into a movie is ultimately his own story The novel asks if his character will develop past his challenges and barriers using lessons he can learn from the Goldens His filmmaker lover lays out this scope of Rushie’s novel “You realize” Suchitra said “that this has become a movie about you and all these Golden boys are aspects of your own nature All the characters are the auteur It’s like Flaubert Madame Bovary c’est moi”“But I’m not an artist” I said “not sexually conflicted not autistic not a Russian gold digger not a powerful old man in decline”“You’re carrying their uestions with you wherever you go The uestion of Apu’s lifeIs it necessary to be profound or can you remain permanently on the surface? You need to answer this uestion also D Golden as his father also said was all about ambiguity and pain I feel it in you also some ambiguity I feel that you are in pain As for Petya he’s hemmed in by himself he can’t escape his nature though he much wants to be free And maybe his games the games he invents are his freedom That’s the place where he isn’t afraid Maybe that’s the place you need to find And the old man He is enfolded in tragedy and so are you He has lost sons you lost parents Your grief defines you and shuts you off from other peopleI just see who you can be and I want you to see it too Be profound Own your tragedy Find your freedom Resolve your ambiguity whatever it is”Throughout the book we are asked to consider whether a person can be both good and evil Rene has to expand that debate over each of the Goldens to his own person At one point he reaches the following dark state I learned the final lesson the learning of which separates us from innocence That there was no safe space that the monster was always at the gates and a little of the monster was within us too we were monsters we had always feared and no matter what beauty enfolded us no matter how lucky we were in life or money or family or talent or love at the end of the road the fire was burning and it would consume us allPretty ponderous and portentious right? But we want to love and trust this Rene Maybe we find some way to proceed in a Trump world with the following lesson The antic clothing of the absurd the idea of the meaninglessness of life was a attractive philosophical garment to many of us than the tragedian’s somber robes which when worn became both the evidence and the agents of doom But it was also an aspect of human nature—just as powerful a characteristic of the contradictory human animal as its opposite—fatalistically to accept that there was indeed a natural order of things and uncomplainingly to play the cards you were dealtOverall I was richly rewarded by this read I was thrilled by it lively pace and well pleased with the balance between playful satire and serious drama One of my best reading experiences of the year This book was provided by the published for review through the Netgalley program