The Golden House

A Novel
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
4 out of 5 stars (442 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A modern American epic set against the panorama of contemporary politics and culture - a hurtling mystery that is equal parts The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the Vanities.

On the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of "the Gardens", a cloistered community in New York's Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons: agoraphobic, alcoholic Petya, a brilliant recluse with a tortured mind; Apu, the flamboyant artist, sexually and spiritually omnivorous, famous on 20 blocks; and D, at 22 the baby of the family, harboring an explosive secret even from himself. There is no mother, no wife, at least not until Vasilisa, a sleek Russian expat, snags the septuagenarian Nero, becoming the queen to his king - a queen in want of an heir.

Our guide to the Goldens' world is their neighbor René, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he ingratiates himself into their household. Seduced by their mystique, he is inevitably implicated in their quarrels, their infidelities, and, indeed, their crimes. Meanwhile, like a bad joke, a certain comic-book villain embarks upon a crass presidential run that turns New York upside-down.

Set against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and politics, The Golden House also marks Salman Rushdie's triumphant and exciting return to realism. The result is a modern epic of love and terrorism, loss and reinvention - a powerful, timely story told with the daring and panache that make Salman Rushdie a force of light in our dark new age.

©2017 Salman Rushdie (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A ravishingly well-told, deeply knowledgeable, magnificently insightful, and righteously outraged epic which poses timeless questions about the human condition. Can a person be both good and evil? Is family destiny? Does the past always catch up to us? In a time of polarizing extremes, can we find common ground? Will despots and their supporters be forever with us? Will humankind ever learn? Can story and art enlighten us? As [Salman] 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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing.

Rushdie always has a way with words, and this narrator somehow manages to do 5 different accents. It was a true pleasure to listen to this.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Superb

An intellectual game of storytelling with loads of obscure literary, musical, and historical allusions. The narrator, a young New Yorker and would-be film writer-director becomes an intimate friend with a multigenerational family of extraordinarily wealthy immigrants from an undisclosed country. The family members—each of whom has intriguing mental states, personal histories (temptingly doled out bit by bit), or relationships with the narrator—are the vehicle by which the tale unrolls. It’s wonderfully addictive and unpredictable.

The reader does a magnificent job differentiating characters of several countries, a range of genders, and all ages.

I was mildly irked by the director’s failure to correct mispronunciation of some English words and New York place-names that even I, a non-New Yorker, was familiar with. Those minor irritants broke the story’s compulsive pacing.

On the whole, this is a very enjoyable and original book, excellent in audio form.

5 people found this helpful

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He protesteth much

Equal parts an exploration of American culture in the 2010s and a Rushdie story of Indians straddling the parallel worlds of East/West, Islam/Christendom, Asia/Europe, etc. A page turner from page 1. I was sorry when it ended.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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PERFECTION

Beautifully written with narration that takes you to another place . Emotional, political, sad but still very satisfying. Highly recommend this experience.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic

Isn't it Awesome that the first Great American Novel of the Trump Administration was written by someone born in Bombay?

Terrific story, interesting characters, exciting plot line, unpredictable.

The narrator created a very good voice for each character, man or woman. He also did an excellent job of pronouncing difficult words, especially Hindi words.

Bottom line, one of the best novels I've ever read (listened to). Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Well written rambling narrative to nowhere

Read and then listened to this book because I thought that I had missed its point or theme and it has been so well received.
Sadly though, my opinion has not changed. Or perhaps I just don’t possess the mental chops to appreciate this type of writing. Regardless, it was a major disappointment.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Especially for those "in the know" in NYC

Would you try another book from Salman Rushdie and/or Vikas Adam?

No

What do you think your next listen will be?

Jody Shields. The Winter Station.

Have you listened to any of Vikas Adam’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Do you think The Golden House needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I expect that Rushdie's books are very diverse, and each one is unique. This one, however, is so claustrophobically confined to the "in crowd" in New York City for most of its duration that if this rarified social context doesn't resonate with you, it will be like taking an anthropology field trip with a lot of characters that are unsympathetic and at times not terribly believable. The narrator is the only character remotely approaching a "normal" person from a normal background, but he is like a limp pennant fluttering in the humid breeze stirred up by everybody else in the story.

Any additional comments?

The diverse population of New York City doubtless will enjoy this story very much, and recognize many of the landmarks and personalities that make cameos in the book.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Boring!

I just slogged through most of it! I can’t recommend it. I tried to get through it and realized I just didn’t want to listen so gave up

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Some parts beautiful, some parts stale

I could at times feel Rushdie's extraordinarily beautiful words but at times wondered if he had full control of the writing.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Russians and Indians and New Yorkers... oh my!

Vikas Adam's voice characterizations are incredible, not to mention pronouncing the zillion international cultural references Rushdie pours into this book. Very much enjoyed the story, despite some gulit over more wallowing in the collective misery of the hated intellectual elite and thereby reviving the depression I had hoped would pass by now, a year after the election. My first Rushdie book ... hoping to find another just as good that won't make me feel like jumping off a bridge.

1 person found this helpful