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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.

Reviews

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

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143790266

    March 19, 2018

    Penguin

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback

    9780857989000

    August 3, 2015

    Vintage Australia

    256 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9781741666441

    August 1, 2014

    Vintage Australia

    256 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780857981547

    August 1, 2014

    Random House Australia

    256 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Awards and Recognition

  • Nita B Kibble Literary Awards
    2015
    Winner
    Kibble Literary Award
  • NSW Premier's People's Choice Award
    2015
    Joint winner
    NSW Premier's People's Choice Award
  • Prime Minister's Literary Awards
    2015
    Winner
    Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction
  • Queensland Literary Awards
    2015
    Winner
    Queensland Literary Award for Fiction
  • ALS Gold Medal Award
    2015
    Shortlisted
    ALS Gold Medal
  • Asher Literary Award
    2015
    Shortlisted
    Asher Literary Award
  • Australian Book Industry Awards
    2015
    Shortlisted
    Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year
  • Miles Franklin Literary Award
    2015
    Shortlisted
    Miles Franklin Literary Award
  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    2015
    Shortlisted
    NSW Premier's Literary Awards: Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
  • The Stella Prize
    2015
    Shortlisted
    The Stella Prize
  • Western Australian Premier's Book Awards
    2016
    Winner
    Western Australian Premier's Book Awards

Also by Joan London

Gilgamesh
The New Dark Age
The Good Parents

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Girl on the Train
The Golden House
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Swing Time
The Mistress
Tiger Men
Fifty Shades Darker
A Long Way from Home
Uncommon Type
The Trip of a Lifetime
The Light Between Oceans
Line of Fire
Ready Player One
Colombiano