I hardly ever write reviews (for obvious reasons). However, I love making exceptions, and Joan London’s wonderful new novel THE GOLDEN AGE makes a glorious exception. Here endeth the superlatives…..
This is a short review wot I wrote for the mother ship, THE COURIER-MAIL, Brisbane, Australia.
Do yourself a favour, people. READ IT.
The Golden Age
Joan London, Vintage, $32.99
Reviewer: Susan Johnson
In limpid, crystalline prose, acclaimed Western Australian author Joan London evokes a dream landscape of a children’s polio ward, where “flocks of wheelchairs” alight and depart. Based on an actual convalescent home of the same name as her novel’s title, this beautiful novel traces the disease poliomyelitis as it weaves its way through the bodies of children and adolescents in 50s Australia.
Few write as poetically and as truthfully as London, whose yearning characters are charged with a vivid humanity. Frank Gold, the 13 year-old son of Jewish Hungarian refugees is becoming a poet, and the beam of his poetic eye is trained on Elsa, child of poverty, bright, beautiful, also on her way to becoming her adult self.
The novel, for me, could have ended without its epilogue. But leaving this minor quibble aside, read London for her knowledge of people like us, “small lurching figures beneath the luminous sky.”