A Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2016
Frank Gold’s family, Hungarian jews, flee the perils of World War II for the safety of Australia, but not long after their arrival, thirteen-year-old 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 illness and adolescence hand in hand, and scandalizing the prudish staff of The Golden Age.
Frank and Elsa’s parents, too, 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, resilience and recovery. It is a book about learning to navigate the unfamiliar, about embracing music, poetry, death, and, most importantly, life.
2015 Australian Prime Minister's Award for Fiction
2015 Patrick White Literary Award
2015 Kibble Literary Award
Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction
New South Wales Premier's People's Choice Award
|Publisher:||Europa Editions, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Joan London is a bookseller and author living in Perth. She is the author of two short story collections, Sister Ships , which won The Age Book of the Year award, and Letter to Constantine , which won the Steele Rudd Award as well as the West Australian Premier's Award for Fiction, and three novels, Gilgamesh , The Good Parents , and The Golden Age.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A moving book in many ways. First, the writing is superb and the novel has a easy flow from one cheaper to the next. It is heart-felt novel and makes you care deeply about the characters. The novel also has transitions - from healing, moving from war to safety, growing up, going from hospital to home, and finding one's place in life. The novel includes the sadness of the polio epidemic, the joy of friendships, the complex family relationships, and discovery of first love. Excellent! The book deserves an A++++++
I really wanted to like this book, but it was just such a hard book to follow. The scenery and timing would change without any warning. It would take me a few pages to figure out, oh this is during this time or this is not at the hospital or just whatever. It just seemed to jump around with no rhyme or reason for me. I also thought it was going to be more about the war, but that was like a chapter with a few mentions here and there throughout the book. And the chapter didn't really say a whole lot. I was also disappointed that towards the end of the book, Elsa and Frank are still children, albeit a little older, then next thing you know, there are a few pages discussing the rest of their lives and the book is done. I see all the great raves for this book and I'm glad that people felt that way, but for me, it was just meh. Thanks Penguin Group and Edelweiss for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.