NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A modern American epic set against the panorama of contemporary politics and culture—a hurtling, page-turning mystery that is equal parts The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the Vanities
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, the 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 queen to his king—a queen in want of an heir.
Our 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 mystique, he is inevitably implicated in their quarrels, 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-down.
Set 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 age.
Praise for The Golden House
“If you read a lot of fiction, you know that every once in a while you stumble upon a book that transports you, telling a story full of wonder and leaving you marveling at how it ever came out of the author’s head. The Golden House is one of those books. . . . [It] tackles more than a handful of universal truths while feeling wholly original.”—The Associated Press
“The Golden House . . . ranks among Rushdie’s most ambitious and provocative books [and] displays the quicksilver wit and playful storytelling of Rushdie’s best work.”—USA Today
“[The Golden House] is a recognizably Rushdie novel in its playfulness, its verbal jousting, its audacious bravado, its unapologetic erudition, and its sheer, dazzling brilliance.”—The Boston Globe
An Amazon Best Book of September 2017: The events of The Golden House begin around Obama’s inauguration and end in our current time–and it is a novel about our times–but it is also a story steeped in Greek tragedy and the history of cinema. Nero Golden is a wealthy immigrant with three sons who has moved from Mumbai to New York under mysterious circumstances. He takes up residence in a downtown mansion, where he acquires a beautiful Russian second wife (one could argue just as strenuously that she acquires him). Nero, his new wife, and his sons establish their respective places in New York society, and their stories are told through the eyes of Rene, an aspiring film maker who lives across the street and who becomes entangled in the rapidly unwinding drama of the Golden family. What follows is an entertaining and enlightening novel with much to say about modern America. This is a story with roots and antecedents stretching into the past, but it feels as relevant and timely as anything you’ll read today. –Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review