The Golden Age by Joan London
A Novel

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Characterization is the novel’s primary achievement. Readers will feel affection for Frank and the many secondary characters.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Winner of the 2015 Prime Minister's Award for Fiction

Joan London, author of Gilgamesh, gives her readers an immensely satisfying and generous-hearted story about displacement, recovery, resilience, and love with The Golden Age.
 
Thirteen-year-old Frank Gold’s family, Hungarian jews, escape the perils of World War II to the safety of Australia in the 1940s. But not long after their arrival Frank is diagnosed with polio. He is sent to a sprawling children’s hospital called The Golden Age, where he meets Elsa, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, a girl who radiates pure light. Frank and Elsa fall in love, fueling one another’s rehabilitation, facing the perils of polio and adolescence hand in hand, and scandalizing the prudish staff of The Golden Age.
 
Meanwhile, Frank and Elsa’s parents must cope with their changing realities. Elsa’s mother Margaret, who has given up everything to be a perfect mother, must reconcile her hopes and dreams with her daughter’s sickness. Frank’s parents, transplants to Australia from a war-torn Europe, are isolated newcomers in a country that they do not love and that does not seem to love them. Frank’s mother Ida, a renowned pianist in Hungary, refuses to allow the western deserts of Australia to become her home. But her husband, Meyer, slowly begins to free himself from the past and integrate into a new society.
 
With tenderness and humor, The Golden Age tells a deeply moving story about illness and recovery. It is a book about learning to navigate the unfamiliar, about embracing music, poetry, death, and, most importantly, life.

Awards
2015 Patrick White Literary Award
2015 Kibble Literary Award
Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction
New South Wales Premier's People's Choice Award
 

About Joan London

See more books from this Author
Joan London is the author of Gilgamesh, which won The Age Book of the Year Award, was short-listed for the Miles Franklin Award, and long-listed for the Orange Prize, among many other honors.
 
Published August 16, 2016 by Europa Editions. 224 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Golden Age
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 24 2016

Every character, however minor, comes to life in these pages. Like her fictional pianist, London is a virtuoso.

Read Full Review of The Golden Age: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by KATHERINE BAILEY on Aug 12 2016

Characterization is the novel’s primary achievement. Readers will feel affection for Frank and the many secondary characters.

Read Full Review of The Golden Age: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Reader Rating for The Golden Age
85%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 47 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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