Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review ~ The Golden Age by Gore Vidal

The Golden AgeThe Golden Age by Gore Vidal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book grew on me as I progressed. I attribute the difficult time I had getting into it at the beginning to the fact that it was one of (actually the last of) a series. Several characters are dropped on the reader with very little introduction, yet a bit of research revealed these had been major players in a previous volume. As this novel's events unwound, these players faded somewhat as heir, Peter Sanford, took not so much center stage as central POV duties.

One thing that (especially at first) I found disconcerting was Vidal's insertion of himself as a character in the narrative. It initially comprised little more than a drive-by, which had little more effect on me than to cause a roll of the eyes). But by the end, the author/character had gone full meta and surrounded himself with his characters much like Samantha did that time she tried to write a story on Bewitched. It only managed to work (IMO) due to the inclusion of Aaron Burr, harkening back to the first entry in this series, which (full disclosure) I have not read.

I'm a huge van of Vidal but not so keen on his style as a fiction writer. His slightly detached, slightly pedagogic voice works better when he's functioning as a critic/essayist. Still, I enjoyed the book. It makes a great companion to his final collection of essays, The Last Empire.

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