Summary and book reviews of The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

The Golden House

A Novel

by Salman Rushdie

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie X
The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2018, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Matt Grant

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

1

On the day of the new president's inauguration, when we worried that he might be murdered as he walked hand in hand with his exceptional wife among the cheering crowds, and when so many of us were close to economic ruin in the aftermath of the bursting of the mortgage bubble, and when Isis was still an Egyptian mother-goddess, an uncrowned seventy-something king from a faraway country arrived in New York City with his three motherless sons to take possession of the palace of his exile, behaving as if nothing was wrong with the country or the world or his own story. He began to rule over his neighborhood like a benevolent emperor, although in spite of his charming smile and his skill at playing his 1745 Guadagnini violin he exuded a heavy, cheap odor, the unmistakable smell of crass, despotic danger, the kind of scent that warned us, look out for this guy, because he could order your execution at any moment, if you're wearing a displeasing shirt, for example, or if he wants...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Courtesy of litlovers.com

1. Talk about Rene, the narrator of The Golden House, and compare him to Nick Carraway, narrator of The Great Gatsby. How are they similar in their observations of both the family "next door" and America as a country?

2. What prompts Rene to say, "I've come to believe in the total mutability of the self"? What is he referring to…or what does he mean? Do you agree?

3. How does The Golden House reflect the current socio-political environment in America? How accurate, or overblown, is Rushdie's portrait of the country?

4. In what way does the Golden family serve as symbols for the country's current identity crisis?

5. What is the tragedy in India that drove Nero and his sons to America and that ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

If The Golden House has one fatal flaw, it's that it's about 200 pages too long. Rushdie is a man at the full height of his powers as a storyteller, who often comes across as more comfortable on a soapbox than in the narrator's chair. Even so, I couldn't stop thinking about The Golden House. At its heart, it's a family saga mixed with some good old-fashioned crime drama and intrigue.   (Reviewed by Matt Grant).

Full Review Members Only (714 words).

Media Reviews

Booklist
Starred Review. A ravishingly well-told, deeply knowledgeable, magnificently insightful, and righteously outraged epic which posĀ­es timeless questions about the human condition. ... As Rushdie's blazing tale surges toward its crescendo, life, as it always has, rises stubbornly from the ashes, as does love.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A sort of Great Gatsby for our time: everyone is implicated, no one is innocent, and no one comes out unscathed.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [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.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Roman Emperor Nero

In The Golden House, readers are introduced to Nero Golden, a larger-than-life figure who claims the name of Rome's most infamous emperor for his own. As it turns out, Nero Golden's tragic life closely mirrors that of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, who ruled the Roman Empire for just over a decade, from AD 54-68. Nero became emperor when he was just 17, and quickly dispatched all those who opposed his rise, including his own mother. After beheading his first wife for adultery, he killed his second wife by kicking her in the stomach while she was pregnant in what the Roman historian Tacitus described as a "casual outburst of rage."

A bust of Emperor Nero On June 19, A.D. 64, a fire spread across the city for nine full days. Ten of Rome's 14 ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Salman Rushdie

If you liked The Golden House, try these:

  • The Immortalists jacket

    The Immortalists

    by Chloe Benjamin

    Published 2019

    About this book

    More books by this author

    A dazzling family love story reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You from a novelist heralded by Lorrie Moore as a "great new talent."

  • Behold the Dreamers jacket

    Behold the Dreamers

    by Imbolo Mbue

    Published 2017

    About this book

    Oprah Winfrey's Summer 2017 Book Club Pick

    In the vein of Amy Tan and Khaled Hosseini comes a compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream - the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: American Prison
    American Prison
    by Shane Bauer
    After spending over two years in Iran's notorious Evin Prison for supposedly crossing the country's ...
  • Book Jacket: Small Fry
    Small Fry
    by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
    Small Fry is the debut memoir from Lisa Brennan-Jobs, long-time journalist and writer, and oldest ...
  • Book Jacket: The Winter Soldier
    The Winter Soldier
    by Daniel Mason
    Imagine the thousands of confounding cases doctors face routinely for which diagnoses are hard to ...
  • Book Jacket: Brother
    Brother
    by David Chariandy
    Brother is the brief, moving account of how a single, tragic moment in time can alter the course of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Removes by Tatjana Soli

A powerful, transporting novel about the addictive intensity and freedom of the American frontier.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Sold on a Monday
    by Kristina McMorris

    An unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House. On sale Oct 9.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T Turn T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.