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
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: NPR, PBS, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Financial Times, The Times of India
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.
In Rushdie's ambitious and rewarding novel, a mysterious billionaire and his three adult sons change their names and move to New York City in an attempt to reinvent themselves after tragedy. Spanning the years from the Obama inauguration to the current political moment, the main story is narrated by Ren , an aspiring filmmaker who resides in the Gardens, the same fictional downtown Manhattan neighborhood as the pseudonymous "Golden" family of the book's title. Each of the Golden sons is introduced in turn the intellectual Petya, the artistically inclined Apu, their searching half-brother "D" as Ren gradually comes to understand their origins and implicate himself in their dramas. After the patriarch, Nero, marries a much younger woman named Vasilia, her increasingly intimate relationship with Ren drags the Goldens' history violently into the present. Replete with allusions to literature, film, mythology, and politics, the novel simultaneously channels the calamities of Greek drama and the information overload of the internet. The result is a distinctively rich epic of the immigrant experience in modern America, where no amount of money or self-abnegation can truly free a family from the sins of the past.