Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9780743288637, 315pp.
Publication Date: September 5, 2006
Golden Country, Jennifer Gilmore's masterful and irreverent reinvention of the Jewish American novel, captures the exuberance of the American dream while exposing its underbelly -- disillusionment, greed, and the disaffection bred by success. As Gilmore's charmingly flawed characters witness and shape history, they come to embody America's greatness, as well as its greatest imperfections.
Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Golden Country vividly brings to life the intertwining stories of three immigrants seeking their fortunes -- the handsome and ambitious Seymour, a salesman-turned-gangster-turned-Broadway-producer; the gentle and pragmatic Joseph, a door-to-door salesman who is driven to invent a cleanser effective enough to wipe away the shame of his brother's mob connections; and the irresistible Frances Gold, who grows up in Brooklyn, stars in Seymour's first show, and marries the man who invents television. Their three families, though inex-tricably connected for years, are brought together for the first time by the engagement of Seymour's son and Joseph's daughter. David and Miriam's marriage must endure the inheritance of not only their parents' wealth but also the burdens of their past.
Epic and comic, poignant and wise, Golden Country introduces readers to an extraordinary new voice in fiction.
"Gilmore has crafted a fine, sweeping novel of Jewish immigrant America, a 'golden country' in which History made people, while people struggled and made History. Deftly written, continuously interesting, and enjoyable, Gilmore's novel illuminates the rewards -- and the cost -- of the American dream." -- Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi
"In Jennifer Gilmore's gleeful overthrow of the Jewish American novel, the most significant force in her characters' lives isn't guilt, or God, but the gilded temptations of organized crime, and redemption is attained through such unexpected means as a household cleaning solution. As tender as it is irreverent, Golden Country is a glittering debut." -- Susan Choi, author of American Woman
"Sharp and funny, Jennifer Gilmore's debut novel roller-coasters through the first half of the twentieth century, showcasing not only her intelligence, her wit, and her intimate knowledge of Jewish culture but also an uncommon depth and humanity." -- Adam Langer, author of Crossing California and The Washington Story
"Golden Country is a brilliant re-creation of mid-twentieth-century New York City and the way it shaped and was shaped by Jews who came to seek their fortunes in a land that turned out to be paved not with gold, but with comedy and tragedy, unexpected success and not always undeserved failure. Like E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime, Golden Country manages to catch the spirit of history through the lives of individuals. Jennifer Gilmore's characters are wonderfully human, and it is exciting to watch their lives change as they move from the slums into the interconnected worlds of school, business, crime, and the theater." -- Alison Lurie, author of Foreign Affairs and Truth and Consequences
"[A] powerfully moving and ambitious debut. . . Talented and compassionate, Gilmore is a writer to watch." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)