“On the day of the new president’s inauguration, when we worried that he might be murdered as he walked hand in hand with his exceptional wife among the cheering crwods, and when so many of us were close to economic ruin in the aftermath of the bursting of the mortgage bubble, and when Isis was still an Egyptian mother-goddess, an uncrowned seventy-something king from a faraway country arrived in New York City with his three motherless sons to take possession of the palace of his exile, behaving as if nothing was wrong with the country or the world or his own story.”
So begins Salmon Rushdie’s latest novel, and it continues in like manner throughout the book, weaving the story of Nero Golden and his three sons, Petya, Apu, and D (for Dionysus) who have left their home in India for a mansion in New York City, with current events including a change in administration at the end of the above mentioned president’s two terms. Our narrator, Rene’, lives with his academic, left-leaning parents in Greenwich Village and becomes friendly, and in some cases, intimate with the Goldens while he pursues a career in documentary film making. Much of what we see is framed by the author in screen shots he hopes to create at some point later on. Of course the names are all fictitious but it takes several chapters to understand why they have changed them and left or fled their home country. Shady doesn’t seem to be quite the right word for Nero Golden, yet he is very human in his love for his sons.
This book is a good read. Salmon Rushdie as usual, is ‘out there’ with his comments on current events and telling it as he sees it.