Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for a free digital review copy – all opinions are my own!
Nero Golden is a powerfully rich man who lives in New York with his three sons. No one is really sure where they came from or what their backstories are. Their neighbor, Rene, is interested in film production and he quickly becomes intrigued with uncovering the secrets surrounding the Golden family in hopes of creating a film that tells their story. (Full synopsis here.)
I went into the story blind; I’d barely read the synopsis and I have never read any other works by Rushdie. From the very beginning, I could tell this author was setting up a very slow burn (reminiscent of The Gentleman in Moscow). The reader must be very patient and, in the end, that patience will be rewarded. The reader is required to do a lot of work in the meantime – dredge through long, very detailed paragraphs, keep separate (but connected) storylines straight, and continue to pick up the book when it feels difficult to do.
In all honesty, if this hadn’t been a free copy to review, I most likely would have marked it as a DNF (did not finish) and moved onto a new book. But sometimes, the fact that I feel obligated to finish a book is a good thing! (I felt the EXACT same way with The Gentleman in Moscow, but was sooooo happy when I had finished it because I ended up loving it!)
The Golden House felt much the same for me. I didn’t love it for most of the book, but I did like it very much once the book had wrapped it all up. It had very strong characters and the writing is excellent. The depth and detail show a true commitment level by Rushdie to give his audience a lot of bang for their buck. However, I do feel he could have accomplished the same goal with a little less density and length. By the end of the book, I was just glad it was over.
In conclusion, I think this was a good book. I ended up appreciating the slow burn and thought it was a great read for those that like a really good family drama. I think Rushdie is incredibly talented in character development and that aspect alone made the story worth reading! Since finishing the book, I have found myself thinking about the Goldens off and on. Interspersed throughout the story were events that were happening around the world, specifically New York City, during the 2000s and that made the story fun because it was reminiscent of those events (i.e.: the election of Barack Obama).
If you’ve read this one, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
(FULL DISCLOSURE: This reading experience may have felt much different for me had I had an actual book in my hand. I am starting to realize that I have a very difficult time connecting to books when I read them digitally – again, this was the same situation for me with The Gentleman in Moscow. I’m thinking I may have to stop reading review books on my iPad or Kindle because I’m not totally sure I’m being fair to them. Am I the only one with this problem, or do you feel it too?)