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One of the truly great writers of the century at top of his game in this uncannily timely knockout of a novel.

When powerful real-estate tycoon Nero Golden immigrates to the States under mysterious circumstances, he and his three adult children assume new identities and reinvent themselves as Roman emperors living in a lavish house in downtown Manhattan. Arriving shortly after the inauguration of Barack Obama, he and his sons, each extraordinary in his own right, quickly establish themselves at the apex of New York society.

The story of the powerful Golden family is told from the point of view of their Manhattanite neighbour and confidant, René, an aspiring filmmaker who finds in the Goldens the perfect subject. René chronicles the undoing of the house of Golden: the high life of money, of art and fashion, a sibling quarrel, an unexpected metamorphosis, the arrival of a beautiful woman, betrayal and murder, and far away, in their abandoned homeland, some decent intelligence work.

Invoking literature, pop culture, and the cinema, Rushdie spins the story of the American zeitgeist over the last eight years, hitting every beat: the rise of the birther movement, the Tea Party, gamergate and identity politics; the backlash against political correctness; the ascendency of the superhero movie, and, of course, the insurgence of a ruthlessly ambitious, narcissistic, media-savvy villain wearing make-up and with coloured hair.

In The Golden House, as entertaining as it is poignant, Rushdie has written a revelatory panorama of our time.

Reviews

A ravishingly well-told, deeply knowledgeable, magnificently insightful, and righteously outraged epic which pos­es timeless questions about the human condition... As Rushdie’s blazing tale surges toward its crescendo, life, as it always has, rises stubbornly from the ashes, as does love.

Booklist

Where Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities sent up the go-go, me-me Reagan/Bush era, Rushdie’s latest novel captures the existential uncertainties of the anxious Obama years... A sort of Great Gatsby for our time: everyone is implicated, no one is innocent, and no one comes out unscathed.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Rushdie’s fable is a sprightly portrait of American life from Obama’s election to the rise of Trump.

Anthony Gardner, Mail on Sunday

[A] complex and witty fable … Rushdie has always been an impish myth-manipulator, refusing to accept, as in this novel, that the lives of the emperors can’t be blended with film noir, popular culture and crime caper. On the evidence of The Golden House, he is quite right.

Alex Clark, The Observer

Intelligent and darkly funny...with a raw political edge.

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Times

Rushdie writes with a Dickensian exuberance, always full of humour as well as striking scornful, tragic notes. Often he plays the role of satirist. His caricatures and outsize figures are full of life, wickedness and human energy: again, as in Dickens, grounded in a precise social and political scene.

Jereme Boyd Maunsell, Evening Standard

Salman Rushdie is a writer of illimitable imagination and verbal ingenuity. He grips us with wild storylines, takes us on flights of fancy, brings us back down again, enthralled and dazed… The terrorist attacks by Islamicists, the unplanned developments, the bribery and corruption and multiple tragedies are gritty, real and moving. Extreme scenes are written so beautifully I don’t think I will ever forget them… The Golden House is an extraordinary book, a brooding meditation on the personal and political, on ethics, egotism, freedom and interdependence.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

This is a compelling thriller with a pinch of fantasy, populated by larger-than-life characters… This powerfully cinematic novel, enriched by references to literature, popular culture and film, is dense, detailed and rewarding, displaying one of our leading novelists at the top of his game.

Vanessa Berridge, Sunday Express

His prose is just as often a pleasure, bursting with colour and texture… The result stands as Rushdie’s most vital book in years, and perhaps the first protest novel of the Trump era.

Stephen Phelan, Herald

A typically bold and all-encompassing saga.

Hilary A White, Irish Independent

Rushdie is, as ever, excellent in conveying bitter, personal anger.

DJ Taylor, Literary Review

Two decades after Rushdie transplanted himself to the US, one of the major pleasures of this novel is the way in which he considers the mores of the one per cent of the one per cent. Rushdie writes about the Goldens’ glittering, private world with innumerable perfect details, down to the art hanging on the walls… It will be a long four years, but fictional protests are unlikely to be as electric as this.

Olivia Cole

Hugely entertaining… Told against a backdrop of American politics and culture between Obama’s inauguration and the 2016 presidential election, it’s an extraordinarily powerful tale of our times.

Sue Price, Saga Magazine

[The Golden House] is a recognizably Rushdie novel in its playfulness, its verbal jousting, its audacious bravado, its unapologetic erudition, and its sheer, dazzling brilliance.

Boston Globe

Rushdie’s prose is beyond much reprieve—there are few contemporary artists who come to mind that possess his ability to craft sentences. In this regard, The Golden House, his latest novel, is no exception... The Golden House is a joy to read… It’s hard to not have fun reading writing at Rushdie’s level of craftsmanship. It’s clever, intimidating, jocund, and electrifying.

Chicago Review of Books

If F. Scott Fitzgerald, Homer, Eurip­ides, and Shakespeare collaborated on a contemporary fall-of-an-empire epic set in New York City, the result would be The Golden House…wildly satiric and yet piercingly real.

Poets & Writers

The Golden House is not Brideshead or Gatsby – it is too rich and too riotous. Rather it is a modern Bonfire of the Vanities, New York seen from the inside and the outside, as only a writer of multiple selves such as Rushdie – Indian, British, now a New Yorker – could do.

Aminatta Forna, Guardian

This is Rushdie's most urgent novel for years.

Tim Martin, Spectator

Rushdie’s story is a morality tale which unfolds with great verve and erudition, missing no opportunity to pillory Donald Trump with its withering contempt.

Richard Hopton, Country & Town House

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781787330160

    September 7, 2017

    Jonathan Cape

    400 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

  • Hardback

    9781787330153

    September 15, 2017

    Jonathan Cape

    400 pages

    RRP $49.99

    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

    9781473549319

    September 5, 2017

    Vintage Digital

    400 pages

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Extract

On the day of the new president’s inauguration, when we worried that he might be murdered as he walked hand in hand with his exceptional wife among the cheering crowds, and when so many of us were close to economic ruin in the aftermath of the bursting of the mortgage bubble, and when Isis was still an Egyptian mother-goddess, an uncrowned seventy-something king from a faraway country arrived in New York City with his three motherless sons to take possession of the palace of his exile, behaving as if nothing was wrong with the country or the world or his own story. He began to rule over his neighbourhood like a benevolent emperor, although in spite of his charming smile and his skill at playing his 1745 Guadagnini violin he exuded a heavy, cheap odour, the unmistakable smell of crass, despotic danger, the kind of scent that warned us, look out for this guy, because he could order your execution at any moment, if you’re wearing a displeasing shirt, for example, or if he wants to sleep with your wife. The next eight years, the years of the forty-fourth president, were also the years of the increasingly erratic and alarming reign over us of the man who called himself Nero Golden, who wasn’t really a king, and at the end of whose time there was a large – and, metaphorically speaking, apocalyptic – fire.

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Also by Salman Rushdie

Home
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Haroun and Luka
Joseph Anton
Luka and the Fire of Life
Imaginary Homelands
The Enchantress of Florence
Shalimar the Clown
Step Across This Line
Fury
The Jaguar Smile
The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Midnights Children
The Satanic Verses
Vintage Book Of Indian Writing 1947 - 1997
Grimus
The Moor's Last Sigh
East, West
Shame
Midnight's Children
Haroun And The Sea Of Stories

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