> Skip to content
  • Published: 19 March 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143790266
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99

The Golden Age




This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life, from one of Australia's most loved novelists.

It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At the Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Home in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond. The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love and desire, music, death, and poetry. It is a place where children must learn they’re alone, even within their families.

Subtle, moving and remarkably lovely, The Golden Age evokes a time past and a yearning for deep connection, from one of Australia’s finest and most-loved novelists.

  • Published: 19 March 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143790266
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Joan London

Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age. Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for fiction and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in 2008 and won the Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim.

The Golden Age (2014), Joan London’s third novel, won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction, the Kibble Literary Award, the Western Australian Premier’s Award for fiction and the Queensland Literary Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Stella Prize, the ALS Gold Medal and the Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

In 2015, Joan London was named a Western Australian State Living Treasure, and was also the recipient of the Patrick White Award, for a lifetime's 'outstanding contribution to Australian literature'. The judges described her body of work as 'quiet, poetic prose [that] opens up worlds, both real and imagined, of travel, desire, loss and love . . . London’s nomadic characters travel through space and time affirming through their relationships and varied histories a global humanity.'

Also by Joan London

See all

Praise for The Golden Age

Fearless, graceful and deeply benevolent

Helen Garner

London is my favourite Australian writer; her prose is matchless in its precision, beauty and clear-eyed compassion

Charlotte Wood

A brilliant display of life and change: the transition between war and peace, between love and permission, between terrible paralysis of various kinds and movement

Brenda Walker, The Monthly

London’s novels seem to float, unsupported . . . The Golden Age is nevertheless a book that carries the quiet assurance of a classic, which it will most certainly become

Tegan Bennett Daylight, Sydney Review of Books

Joan London is a superlative writer. The Golden Age, her latest novel, is set in Perth during the polio epidemic. It’s pitch perfect and word perfect. And in writing about children and illness London pays young people the respect of giving them total composure and self-hood

Sophie Cunningham, Australian

[London] has already proven in novels such as Gilgamesh and The Good Parents to be our finest living writer of marriage and family life. The Golden Age burnishes these credentials: it is her most accomplished and keenly felt work to date. Every other book I read this year will seem loud and blatant beside it

Geordie Williamson, Australian

Everything [Joan London] writes is pitch perfect and so richly yet modestly insightful that it illuminates the everyday for the reader long after each book has been finished and laid reluctantly aside

Adelaide Advertiser

London is not prolific (this is her third novel) but what she does produce is exquisite

Susan Johnson, Courier-Mail

Awards & recognition

Nita B Kibble Literary Awards

Winner  •  2015  •  Kibble Literary Award

NSW Premier's People's Choice Award

Joint winner  •  2015  •  NSW Premier's People's Choice Award

Prime Minister's Literary Awards

Winner  •  2015  •  Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction

Queensland Literary Awards

Winner  •  2015  •  Queensland Literary Award for Fiction

ALS Gold Medal Award

Shortlisted  •  2015  •  ALS Gold Medal

Asher Literary Award

Shortlisted  •  2015  •  Asher Literary Award

Australian Book Industry Awards

Shortlisted  •  2015  •  Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year

Miles Franklin Literary Award

Shortlisted  •  2015  •  Miles Franklin Literary Award

NSW Premier's Literary Awards

Shortlisted  •  2015  •  NSW Premier's Literary Awards: Christina Stead Prize for Fiction

The Stella Prize

Shortlisted  •  2015  •  The Stella Prize

Western Australian Premier's Book Awards

Winner  •  2016  •  Western Australian Premier's Book Awards

Related titles