Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie (to be published, September, 2017)

Very Good Summery of The Golden House from The Times of India

"How 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, D.C., to be born. What I did was to retreat into private life—to hold on to life as I had known it, its dailiness and strength, and to insist on the ability of the moral universe of the Gardens to survive even the fiercest assault.".  - from The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

The Golden House by Salman Rhusdie will probably be hailed as the first great novel depicting the despair felt throughout the reading life world (no doubt the same or worse feelings have been generated in artistic and other segments of society but I can only speak about the feelings of those of us who cherish literature above all as it is what I know).  If Rushdie, this is the fifth of his novels upon which I have posted, never wins The Nobel Prize it will be a tribute to the power of the petro dollar.

I know as soon as The Golden House is published it will be written about throughout the literary press.  A new Salman Rushdie novel is a major event.  I am not inclined to summarize the "story line" in great detail.  Basically it centers on an incredibly wealthy older man with three sons who is forced to relocate from his ancestral home in Mumbai, he still has to think to avoid saying "Bombay" by the ramifications of his past corruptions catching up with him to New York City.  How he got so wealthy is a bit shrouded in mystery. He lives in NYC in a development called "The Gardens", which is inhabited by people very much like the trump family.  The family patriarch is in his early seventies, he has a much younger trophy wife.  The scenes are split between NYC and Mumbai.  There is a very interesting treatment of the terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, a symbol of opulence.  

The story is told be a neighbor of the Golden family, a filmmaker, who decides to make a movie about the family.  We get to know Mr. Golden and his sons well.  It was impossible for me not to see Golden's sons as meant to bring to mind those of trump.  The wife might as well be a very expensive prostitute, Golden cannot get her pregnant and in an intriguing subplot the filmmaker begins an affair with the wife, she gets pregnant and the child is thought by Golden to be his.  

Rushdie depicts trump mercilessly in all his completely self centered shallowness, devoid of any culture, the champion of those who worship the ignorant or maybe use those the people who voted

for him to safe guard their own status, preying on and abandoning their followers as soon as they are no longer needed.  Of course I do not see any trump supporter actually reading The Golden House so it will only impact those who already despise what he has brought forth.

I love the lush language of Rushdie, his descriptions are so vivid, his imagination so powerful.  I also really liked all of the literary and classic cinema references made by the narrator.  

The Golden House is everything a supreme literary work of art should be.

I don't doubt there are deep meanings in this work,cultural allusions and historical references that I missed on my first reading.

I am very thankful to have been kindly provided a review copy of this book.

Mel u

I will be very curious to see how it is received.

Salman Rushdie

Photo of Salman Rushdie
Photo: © Syrie Moskowitz


Salman Rushdie is the author of twelve novels—Grimus, Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence, Luka and the Fire of Life, and Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights—and one collection of short stories: East, West. He has also published four works of nonfiction—Joseph Anton, The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, and Step Across This Line—and co-edited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. A former president of PEN American Center, Rushdie was knighted in 2007 for services to literature


Buried In Print said...

There is a monstrous gap in my reading life, where my reading of Salman Rushdie should be. They always sound good, but somehow it feels like a major undertaking to begin, even though I know I'm missing out. The cinema references in this one must lighten the content a little bit, too. It sounds very rewarding in all.

Mel u said...

Buried in Print. I will look forward to one day reading your posts on Rushdie.