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Salman Rushdie is back with The Golden House

It’s the triumphant return of the man who took controversy and made a brand out of it. The book releases September 5th, but I was lucky to receive an advanced copy from the publisher. Salman Rushdie’s The Golden House is a story of epic proportions. Secrets, family saga, and betrayals, ingratiate this page-turning mystery that takes us from the shores of Mumbai to New York’s Greenwich Village.

Nero Golden is the patriarch who has come to America with his three adult sons. The eccentric billionaire’s past is unclear, and creates some curiosity (understandably) amongst the community, in particular for René – who happens to be the lens through which we navigate the novel.

Like all billionaires, Nero Golden’s life revolves around money, and this also seeps into his relationships with his sons. They are always at an arms length, knowing that at any moment he could take away their allowance. The sons, have an expectation that they will inevitably inherit their billionaire father’s fortunes…that is until Vasilisa, a Russian expat, waltzes into the picture. It’s clear from the start that she’s an opportunist, who is shrewdly making her way into the Golden fortunes. She swiftly makes it into Nero Golden’s life, and even deftly into his bed. It is not long after that she has her sights on producing a son. 

René is fascinated by the web of secrecy the Goldens have weaved around them. His interest isn’t purely observational. He is keen on making a movie about them. While the aspiring filmmaker attempts to document everything he witnesses, he gets engulfed in the drama, and has to spin his own web of lies and deceit. As a reader the story moves purposefully along, but there is some absurdity --a trademark of Rushdie's earlier works-- to whether these are "alternative facts" that René is embellishing into the tale.
In classic Salman Rushdie fashion, The Golden House spins a tale that is abound with political ambition, literary snippets, historical references and the meaning of life itself. Life is like a good book, it starts to make sense the further you get into it. Salman Rushdie loves to leave the reader with ideas and thoughts that are meant to be thoughtfully digested about well after you've consumed the novel. It is an education in life itself. 

The backstory of the Goldens is beautifully drawn out over 400 pages. At first blush Salman Rushdie’s work doesn’t seem to be accessible to the masses, but I believe that The Golden House will appeal to many, be they literary critics, or lay readers interested in a fictional postmodernist take set against the current backdrop of the political current in America.  

The story is poignant and timely, drawing on the current political situation, rife with uncertainty. The storyteller's perspective, via the eyes of René, gives as much clarity, as it does create a certain kind of fictitious reality. It’s hard to say how much of the Goldens’ real story has been embellished as it is being scripted by the storyteller.

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Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative and Social Media strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog: thinkblink.ca/blog, as well as a lifestyle blog: sukasastyle.com T: @SukasaStyle) 

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