The Golden House: A Novel - Salman Rushdie

A great, masterfully told, timely book.

 

Supposedly this book was Rushdie's commentary on the Obama years. While it didn't have a lot to do with presidential politics, it certainly brought the feelings of being alive and online 2009-2015.

 

Mostly, though, this was a complexly plotted, intricate story of some fascinating characters in early 21st century America.

 

Reading the back flap, I thought this was going to be some sort of fictionalized Donald Trump, but although there are some really surface similarities between Nero Golden and Donald Trump, I think they aren't important to the story.

 

The part that I think will resonate with me the most is the sad story of D Golden -- not because of his (very 21st century) gender dysphoria, but because of the theme of "Identity" -- D was being asked, forced, etc. to choose an identity-- was he Male or Female, Trans, Pre-op Trans, or some different shade of whatever.

 

In the end, I think Rushdie's message is that we need to love and respect each other, and that labels don't matter. Rushdie saw that in India in the last century -- Once the country was partitioned into Hindu vs Muslim, those divisions became a matter of life and death in places where it didn't matter before (in Shalimar the Clown's Kashmir or Midnight's Children/Golden House's Bombay). Allowing labels to divide us causes further and further division until no-one can see eye to eye with anyone unless they think exactly the same.

 

So maybe, we shouldn't worry so much about whether someone is a republican or a democrat, whether someone is gay or straight, cis or trans, woke or TERF, and stop trying to stick labels onto people who can't/won't/shouldn't be labeled.

 

I dunno. It was a good book 5 stars.