The Golden Age

The Golden Age

Book - 2016
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Penguin Putnam
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

Baker & Taylor
Escaping the perils of World War II to the safety of Australia, 13-year-old Jewish Hungarian Frank is diagnosed with polio and sent to a sprawling children's hospital, where he falls in love with incandescent fellow patient Elsa while their families back home struggle to adjust to life in a new culture. By the award-winning author of Letter to Constantine. Original.

& Taylor

Escaping the perils of World War II Hungary for Australia, Frank is diagnosed with polio and sent to a children's hospital where he falls in love with a fellow patient while their families struggle to adjust to life in a new culture.

Publisher: New York : Europa Editions, 2016
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781609453329
Branch Call Number: FIC Londo
Characteristics: 221 pages ; 21 cm


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spl_merley Jan 19, 2017

A story about overcoming adversity, the challenges of being an immigrant and the resounding impact of WWII and the holocaust all wrapped up in an Australian hospital for children recovering from Polio. London vividly describes the inner world of her characters removing a veil to allow the reader a glimpse into the many complicated motivations that influence who her characters have become.

Jan 12, 2017

When my husband went to our indie bookseller looking for a Christmas gift, he asked for something not too sappy with good characters. This was the recommendation, and I agree with the assessment. I was close to the end before I felt truly invested in the characters. The author described the immigrant experience and the common struggles faced by both the patients and the parents as they each faced loneliness, judgment and misunderstanding.

Nov 14, 2016

This is a novel about overcoming adversity. Unfortunately, it is rather superficial and reads like young adult fiction.

Nov 07, 2016

Tender and evocative story of two young people who fall in love while recovering in a polio rehabilitation hospital in post-World War II Australia. This book won all major literary awards in Australia for a good reason. All of the characters - the families, staff, other patients - are drawn so well. And, London also explores the contrasts of class backgrounds and immigrant experiences of the characters with understated but "spot on" descriptions.

Sep 25, 2016

I think this is a lovely book. The story (like the prose and like the setting) seems spare and elegant. The characters--not just the two main but many of the minor--are well drawn and detailed. The interactions between them are leisurely and yet powerful.

The main two characters are children in an Australian polio hospital just after WWII. One is the child of Hungarian refugees. The two children fall in love, in a way that seems completely plausible.

Very firmly set in its time and place, it's really worth reading.

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