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The Golden Gate

Vikram Seth

3,592 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0394549740 / ISBN 13: 9780394549743
Published by Random House, New York, 1986
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Laing Books (Chillicothe, OH, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

An excellent copy of this author's first novel considering the age of the book. In Mylar cover. Tiny indentation of the base of the hardcover, but hardly noticeable. Gore Vidal called it a great American novel and written in verse. D. J. Enright called it "a technical triumph, unparalleled (I would hazard) in English." Amazingly easy to read. For fiction and poetry lovers: this book has it all. Bookseller Inventory # 000142

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Golden Gate

Publisher: Random House, New York

Publication Date: 1986

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Completely written in rhyming verse, this contemporary novel illustrates the lives, loves, and interests of young California professionals living in and around Silicon Valley, within reach of the Golden Gate bridge

Review:

Can 690 sonnets, rhyming a-b-a-b-c-c-d-d-e-f-f-e-g-g, be a novel? Definitely! First published in 1986 and still fresh (the sole sign of its publication date being the frequent use of the word yuppie), Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate will turn the verse-fearing into admiring acolytes. Janet Hayakawa, a yet-to-be-discovered sculptor and drummer in the Liquid Sheep, secretly places a personal ad for her friend John, even though she too is single. "Only her cats provide distraction,/Twin paradigms of lazy action." The seventh letter does the trick. Lawyer Liz Donati's submission is two sonnets in toto and disarms John into meeting her. Soon they fall into brief bliss, as do her brother, Ed, and John's old college roommate, Phil. Unfortunately, the first couple's love is too soon destroyed, partly by a pet, partly by politics; and the second is rent by religion. Ed pulls away thanks to the Bible: "I have to trust my faith's decisions, / Not batten on my own volitions."

The rest of the novel leads less to the traditional comic ending--rapprochement and marriage all around--than to surprising sadness. But in between there is wit, wordplay, abounding allusion, and some marvelous animals, among them the iguana Schwarzenegger. The author even steps onto the stage on occasion: at a frou-frou publishing party a powerful editor accosts him, curious to hear about his new novel. When Seth tells him it's in verse, the temperature plummets. "'How marvelously quaint,' he said, / And subsequently cut me dead." Luckily, Seth's real editor did anything but.

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