Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

Pages: 400, Kindle Edition

Published: 5 September 2017, Random House

Cover Rating: 3/5

Recently I got my hands on Salman Rushdie’s upcoming novel The Golden House. It’s a tragedy. A modern-day tragedy. From page one up to the last there’s the whole genesis of this book is well planned over a form of a drama based on human suffering that invokes and interest us from our ancestral days. Many cultures provoked this idea, especially the Greeks around 2500 years ago.

The storyline is plain and follows a wealthy Nero Golden, a powerful real estate tycoon, of similar breed as of The Godfather, who immigrate to United States under a circumstance that took away the life of his wife, along with his three children. Beloved maybe. All of them, the four of them, make up their own names, inspired by Romans and move into a grand mansion in Manhattan shortly after the inauguration of Barack Obama’s first term. Their golden story is narrated to us by their garden loving neighbour, another wealthy child, Rene who is an aspiring film director searching for a meaningful story. Upon finding his subject, he describes the whole story in the form of movie, sometimes a script, that is being played inside his mind.

The whole book is divided into three parts and ends near the reign of the current United States president. Such that it is contemporary in nature. The pace of the book is calmly moving along with the characters’ mingling activities. Constant use of references to various cultures, movies, books, and fairy tales such as Vasilisa and the Hut of Baba Yaga by Alexander Afanasyev. Then the constant dip Greek and Roman mythology mingles with the background of American politics during all those years.

Things start to get interesting in the second part. The characterisation is strong but then it is expected from a writer like Rushdie’s calibre. Writing style is fluent without a doubt. The element of surreal including the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, in 2008 gives the plot a foundation to live on. Otherwise there isn’t much into the plot to say.

In the end, I could not find a major spectacular element. There are bits of goodness and irony, and hints from the author of how it will turn out in the end and one could pick those hints to predict the ending before reaching the end itself. You maybe right. You maybe wrong but you will be close enough. It does lack the surprise element that the contemporary fiction must emphasise on these days. Enjoyable but not surprising enough.

3 out of 5!


Note: I received this book from the publisher but that doesn’t mean my review is breaking any reviewing rules and I thank them for their effort with all my heart.

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7 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Golden House by Salman Rushdie”

  1. I like your evaluation of the book, and I think it’s really important to evaluate it in an American context in the now. Interestingly, this book is not news in the mainstream sense, but the author was very controversial in another political time. We need to compare the political times. The books live on. One was received as almost a terrorist threat, this one not interesting to US politics. Something in the world has changed. The author hasn’t changed at all. That’s something profound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The incidents described in the book led me to my evaluation. I won’t say it’s completely mine, the author has left clear signs of that. I think sometimes a writer just want to capture the timeline in his words and as you rightly said, “Books live on”.

      Liked by 1 person

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