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Golden Country

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  310 ratings  ·  56 reviews
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 greates ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Scribner (first published August 15th 2006)
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This is a Jewish immigrant story that follows three people and their families as they struggle to attain the American Dream. This is a richly textured novel that captures the struggles, disappointments and heartache that comes with achieving your dreams. In general I enjoyed this story and cared about what would happen to each of the characters.

One quibble is that this first time novelist uses the word "screamed" far too often. Her characters screamed their way through the novel and this word di
The book started out promising and I loved the setting: primarily the NYC area, but Boston and Maine, too. I looked forward to learning more about the Jewish immigrant experience, but don't feel that I learned it was much different from other immigrant experiences. (Although, the book does touch on how ostracized and demoralized Jews were by some.) What was most dissapointing about the book was the lack of happiness. None of these people seemed happy or genuine. Some of the characters were just ...more
Amazing debut fiction. It started out a little slow, there are a lot of characters and a lot of different viewpoints and it took me awhile to keep everyone straight and really "care" about each person's plight. But about 1/3 in, it picked up pace and I finished the book in one afternoon. Terrific writing and interesting storylines of people trying to realize the American dream.
I DO NOT recommend this book. I am so disappointed! It is a fascinating story that really engages the reader and you just want so badly to know how it all turns out. I was unable to finish the book because every fifty pages or so the author throws in some explict sex scene. I want very much to know how the book ends, but I don't want to read the smut to get there.
This is a book about Jewish immigrants and their families in the eastern United States pre and post WWII. Overall, the story was ok. Keeping the characters straight was a little confusing at first as each chapter jumps back and forth between families. Not a lot of offensive language (a couple of f-bombs), no gratuitous sex.
I was rather disappointed in this book. While the premise of it seemed so full of promise, Gilmore seemed to get bogged down in historical name dropping and forgot to make sure there was a story to hold the reader's interest through the second half of the book. For a book with so much promise, it left me feeling unsatisfied.
Adele Goetz
Feb 12, 2008 Adele Goetz rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kir
I had a little bit of trouble keeping track of all the characters at first, but once I got involved in the story that was no longer an issue. There are some lovely passages in the book, as well as some fascinating relationships. The book has a somewhat melancholy tone, but it is not a depressing read.
This broad reaching family saga begins with Russian Jewish immigrants early in the century and ends in the 1960s. The story traces the successes and failures of gangsters, inventors, actors, and more. I enjoyed reading it, but the story hasn't stuck with me.
An interesting portrayal of Jews who immigrated to NYC from Europe in the early part of the 20th century (but before WWII.) Gave me some historical perspective and was entertaining at parts...but didn't knock my socks off. (not much does, it seems.)
There were some terrific moments in this book (the Thanksgiving poisoning scene!), but I was never really hooked by these characters or their stories.
As the Borders on Michigan Avenue sadly closed, books were marked down. A lot. I purchased this book for seventy-nine cents (which may seem like nothing, but I got five-ish books for a penny each). Like others have said, this is a story about three family stories of Jewish immigrants intertwining. At first, I loved this book. There were a few hours where I could just not stop reading it. But at about page 150, I lost interest. All the characters were predictable - and someone else said it here b ...more
The story of 3 interconnected Jewish Russian immigrant families in New York City from the 1920's to the 1960's. They came to the US in search of the American Dream. Solomon Brodsky aka The Terrier, opted to become part of the Mob. Pauline Verdonik saw in him a way out of the closed Jewish neighborhood and a path to wealth. By their choice they and their families were ostrasized by the neighborhood. Pauline's sister Frances idolized her sister and never forgave her for leaving her for "things". F ...more
I love stories about the early 1900's immigrant experience in New York City. This one intertwines three people's lives and how they weave together. All Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn trying to make their fortunes - traveling salesmen, mobsters, illegal liquor distribution, failed actors and actresses, backers of the theater, inventors who discover famous cleaning solvents and even television. For fiction, this rings true and seems a rather special group of folks.
I had a bit of a hard time gettin
Crystal V. Bacon
This is one of the best books I've read in a while. Its treatment of the Jewish immigrant experience is both heartfelt and comprehensive. At the same time, it's often laugh out loud funny. Great characterizations, beautiful evocative language and a compelling although simple plot. I took a chance on this via one of Amazon's book deals, and I have been very pleasantly surprised. I give it a strong recommendation.
Mar 05, 2015 Janice added it
I love the scope of this book set in the years of my childhood, involving Jewish immigrants, a miracle cleaning product, and the invention of television! Told with compassion and insight.
Someone told me to read this, and, while I cannnot recall who that was, I am glad I read the book! It's an interesting tapestry of first generation American Jews, some of whom are involved in the Jewish mafia of the 1920s. Lots of twists and turns and, finally, a satisfying ending.
I am a fan of family sagas especially those involving immigrant families in the late 19th century/early 20th. This one was interesting in some sections but disappointing in the periods of history that were short shrift. It almost felt as if the author omitted them to avoid the research that may have been necessary. I also never felt a part of the neighborhoods described. This was disappointing as the city was to have been a main character or theme. I wouldn't recommend this over many better writ ...more
Golden country is about three intertwined Jewish families living in America.

Sometimes the blurb on the back of a book somehow prejudices you against enjoying it. In this case, the blurb compared the book to Jhumpa Lahiri`s tales of immigrants and with this comparison in mind the book seems overly stylized, exagerated and false. However there were bits of the book which felt beautiful and true when the author discusses fathers and daughters and their relationship to each other. Perhaps the author
Very hard to keep characters straight, no solid plot line, disappointing, sort of awash in stereotypes.
This book was okay, captured time and place in American history. Concentrated on Jewish life in American, coming to new country, finding a place, life in Mob, becoming Americanize in the new country. Exposed the growing days of New York City, interesting backdrop with Statue of Liberty, coming of Empire State Building, growing skyline, Rockerfeller Center. I found the times and the setting more interesting than the individual characters. Sarah was a very sad character, hated to see the waste of ...more
Wonderful book spotlighting three immigrant families
Read this back in 2007 but for some reason this review is showing up in another book of hers that I'm about to read. Moving my review here.

Amazing debut fiction. It started out a little slow, there are a lot of characters and a lot of different viewpoints and it took me awhile to keep everyone straight and really "care" about each person's plight. But about 1/3 in, it picked up pace and I finished the book in one afternoon. Terrific writing and interesting storylines of people trying to realize
This was another Book Club book. The others liked it more than I did, but I was glad I read it, and I wouldn't have read it without the group. One member made the comment that she loves books that are character driven like this one. That IS what I liked...the characters are memorable. New York Jewish communities of the early 20th centuries were portrayed lovingly. I responded to the theme of storytelling that wove through the book. We all must have our stories, to remember, to believe in, or to ...more
Jill Waldman
Although this book is lacking in plot, it's very beautifully written and nostalgia-inducing. Basically the story of Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn in the 1920's -- I was sold when one of the reviewers called her "the Jewish Jumpra Lahari." A lot of very sweet moments, but I probably wouldn't have liked it nearly as much if I were not descended from NY Jews so it was like reading a history of me. It is eerily accurate in terms of describing that community and its idiosyncrasies.
A wonderful story of three immigrants and how their lives intertwine throughout the 40+ years the story takes place. It has gangsters in the height of prohibition, a broadway producer and a simple man who struggles at first to support his family by selling cleaning products door-to-door until he creates a new cleaning product that makes him rich - a dream his father had when they immigrated to the "Golden Country" of America.
This story is about generations of Jews who came to America (the Golden Country.) From living in the east for so long I have many good Jewish friends and the book seemed truthful in the telling. Of course my friends weren't gangsters or Broadway directors but it was a good tale about the people coming to America and the children who grew up here.
Oct 15, 2008 Carrie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carrie by: Costco bestsellers
A tale of intertwining Jewish immigrant families from 1930-1960. It was a fast read, surprising at parts- but enjoyable.

Author: Jennifer Gilmore
Publisher: Harcourt
Copyright: 2006
Genre: Fiction
Date Read- 10/8/08 to 10/10/08
Jul 03, 2008 Whitney rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Whitney by: Mary
A book about several immigrant families trying to make it in America. I liked this book and loved how each of the families were intertwined with one another whether they liked it or not. It was very light hearted and an easy fun read.
A story of three Jewish immigrants and their children to the US, starting in the 1920's and ending in the 1960's. Very interesting story, I wanted to give it 3 stars but didn't because of the brief explicit sex scenes.

Entertaining though somewhat sad as it covers their they tough immigrant lives- nice "growing up/becoming more mature".themes..mixed of course with some hard realities of life.
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Jennifer Gilmore is the author of two novels, Golden Country, a 2006 New York Times Notable Book, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Jewish Book Award, and Something Red , a New York Times Notable Book of 2010. Her new novel, The Mothers, will be published by Scribner in April 2013.

Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in magazines and journals including Allure,
More about Jennifer Gilmore...
The Mothers Something Red We Were Never Here Golden Country: A Novel

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