Golden Country, Jennifer Gilmore's masterful and irreverent reinvention of the Jewish American novel, captures the exuberance of the American dream while exposing its underbelly -- disillusionment, greed, and the disaffection bred by success. As Gilmore's charmingly flawed characters witness and shape history, they come to embody America's greatness, as well as its greatest imperfections.
Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Golden Country vividly brings to life the intertwining stories of three immigrants seeking their fortunes -- the handsome and ambitious Seymour, a salesman-turned-gangster-turned-Broadway-producer; the gentle and pragmatic Joseph, a door-to-door salesman who is driven to invent a cleanser effective enough to wipe away the shame of his brother's mob connections; and the irresistible Frances Gold, who grows up in Brooklyn, stars in Seymour's first show, and marries the man who invents television. Their three families, though inex-tricably connected for years, are brought together for the first time by the engagement of Seymour's son and Joseph's daughter. David and Miriam's marriage must endure the inheritance of not only their parents' wealth but also the burdens of their past.
Epic and comic, poignant and wise, Golden Country introduces readers to an extraordinary new voice in fiction.
In a powerfully moving and ambitious debut, Gilmore follows the lives of three immigrant families, the Brodskys, the Verdoniks and the Blooms, who all begin their American journeys in shtetl-like Brooklyn and end up somewhere unexpected between the 1920s and the 1960s. Struggling door-to-door salesman Joseph Brodsky invents Essoil, the world's first two-in-one cleaner, and makes his childhood friend Frances Verdonik whose husband, Vladimir, invents the television its first TV spokesperson. Meanwhile, Joseph's brother, Solomon Brodsky, works his way up through New York's Prohibition-era underworld to become a powerful bootlegger known as the Terrier. When he marries Pauline Verdonik, Frances's sister, and draws Seymour Bloom, whose son eventually marries Joseph Brodsky's daughter, into organized crime, the lives of all three families are inextricably linked. Gilmore's large cast allows her to take a panoramic look at the period of intense change spurred by waves of immigration and the television, which brought celebrities and products into living rooms throughout America. She also delves into the daily goings-on in three generations of families as they are forged in the 20th-century crucible. Talented and compassionate, Gilmore is a writer to watch.