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About the book
  • 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.

  • Pub date: 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.'

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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

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