Disappointed, thats is the short and long of it. Coming from Salman Rushdie, The author of books like Haroun and the Sea of Stories and The Midnights children, The Golden house was expected to excite and entice; it was as his books before expected to be a delight to read and unfortunately the opposite seems to be true. This book required an laborious effort to consume and an undue tenacity to finish. I believe like all Salman was compelled to comment on the current socio-political state of affairs both home and abroad, but this books in hindsight appears to be a bad outlet for such a social commentary. A short concise series of editorials would have served a better purpose. Unfortunately this is what Slaman chose and I feel this attempt has failed both as a book and as a social commentary (coming from a lesser author may be an argument can be made but not from The Salman Rushdie).
The Golden house is the story of Nero Golden and his children seen through the eyes of René, an young film maker, set in a an exclusive private garden in lower Manhattan. The goldens are altruistic people with pretentious roman names, eccentric in their own way and always running from something or the other, a dark past, some shady business, sexuality and often life and truth itself. The characters are eccentric in an half -hearted attempt at mimicking the flamboyance of The Great Gatsby but as a recurring theme in this book; failing (if not miserably, then convincingly so).
There are some genuine spaces when Rushdie comes on to being his old self, when words start flowing with a forgotten vigor, when prose tends to be poetic and beautiful more so. But as mirages in a hot midday desert, they are fleeting and ephemeral.
Verdict : If this is your first foray into Rushdie’s works I suggest you start elsewhere, if not then I suggest elsewhere as well. You lose nothing by not reading this book and if you dont read the Rushdie you know and love would shine a bit brighter.