From the author of the acclaimed Carter Beats the Devil comes a grand entertainment with the brilliantly realized figure of Charlie Chaplin at its centre: a novel at once cinematic and intimate, thrilling and darkly comic, which dramatizes the moment when American capitalism, a world at war, and the emerging mecca of Hollywood intersect to spawn an enduring culture of cele...more
Even the critic Munsterberg whose work I came to appreciate last year gets a moment in the sun.
However the chapters on the warfront did nothing for me. Glimmers might have been haunting; whole chapters seemed dist ...more
Gold weaves in millions of period details and facts, and characters, which is great. But the writing is just so dense, and he seems to have a deep antipathy to clearly identifying *which* of the myriad characters is speaking, or thinking, or being discussed. I kept flipping back and forth going "Wait, what? who is ...more
The central character in Sunnyside is Charlie Chaplin, whom we first see (or think we see) on November 12, 1916, in a boat off the Northern California coast, bei ...more
What is one to make of Glen David Gold’s second act, “Sunnyside,” which comes more than seven years after his much praised first novel, “Carter Beats the Devil”? As with Carter, Gold again demonstrates his extraordinary gifts – characterization, humor, and perfectly metered prose, as well as exceptional research – are not for this author tricks but sheer magic. Yet where Carter followed a story that was linear and easily deciphered, “Sunnyside” follows not one track but several. And if like most ...more
The production of illusion, the competitive spirit of creative people, the magnetic appeal of the truly adept; these are the themes of David Glen Gold and also his techniques as a writer. Carter Beats the Devil, his amazing first novel, was about a magician. Sunnyside takes us into the early world of motion pictures through Charlie Chaplin.
It is a long novel and in my opinion it is as long as it needs to be, though some critics disagreed. Gold takes a good 75 pages to get it all going. The three ...more
To say I was daunted when I realized that this book was 550 pages long would be an understatement. Given the massive length of the book I expected, ...more
I'm still struggling with why the characters above were included. Was it to show how the non-Hollywood folk lived? Was it an attempt to give depth to an otherwise bland story? Or was it simply, as is my belief, an attempt to add substance to a thin plot?
I struggled mightily with every character introduced (with the exception of Nanette a ...more
Ambitious, scrupulously researched, beautifully and evocatively written, utterly gripping – and strangely hollowed out. It's not often you wish a ...more
It follows intertwining stories in America, 1918 one of which is Charlie Chaplin, and from my own knowledge and research it's pretty historically accurate! other characters in the book are real life historical figures while some are fictitious but believable to have existed. With several great quotes and a coupl ...more
As for the flaws, this book is rambling in parts. The storyline that takes place in Russia featuring Pfc. Hugo Blac ...more
It doesn't get much more ambitious than this until you start talking about the all-time great novels. But ambition and success are not synonymous. Gold is a very good writer, but he's at his worst when he tries his hardest to entertain. This book's most successful moments (and a "moment" in this tome can be 40 or 50 pages long) come when he relaxes and lets the story do the work. The crowning achievement of the book is t ...more