cover image The Golden House

The Golden House

Salman Rushdie. Random House, $28.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-399-59280-5

In Rushdie’s ambitious and rewarding novel, a mysterious billionaire and his three adult sons change their names and move to New York City in an attempt to reinvent themselves after tragedy. Spanning the years from the Obama inauguration to the current political moment, the main story is narrated by René, an aspiring filmmaker who resides in the Gardens, the same fictional downtown Manhattan neighborhood as the pseudonymous “Golden” family of the book’s title. Each of the Golden sons is introduced in turn—the intellectual Petya, the artistically inclined Apu, their searching half-brother “D”—as René gradually comes to understand their origins and implicate himself in their dramas. After the patriarch, Nero, marries a much younger woman named Vasilia, her increasingly intimate relationship with René drags the Goldens’ history violently into the present. Replete with allusions to literature, film, mythology, and politics, the novel simultaneously channels the calamities of Greek drama and the information overload of the internet. The result is a distinctively rich epic of the immigrant experience in modern America, where no amount of money or self-abnegation can truly free a family from the sins of the past. Agent: Andrew Wylie, the Wylie Agency. (Sept.)