A quintessentially American epic, Sunnyside stars the one and only Little Tramp, Charlie Chaplin. It’s 1916 and, after an extraordinary mass delusion where Chaplin is spotted in more than eight hundred places simultaneously, his fame is at its peak but his inspiration is at a low. As he struggles to find a film project as worthy as himself, we are introduced to a dazzling cast of characters that take us from the battlefields of France to the Russian Revolution and from the budding glamour of Hollywood to madcap Wild West shows. The result is a spellbinding novel about dreams, ambition, and the birth of modern America.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Glen David Gold’s first novel, Carter Beats the Devil, has been translated into fourteen languages. His short stories and essays have appeared in McSweeney’s, Playboy, and The New York Times Magazine. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Alice Sebold.
Praise for Sunnyside…
“Unflaggingly entertaining . . . Sunnyside flaunts a dizzying ambition. Thematically it’s no less modest . . . Gold is a prodigally gifted storyteller.”
“Brilliant . . . Sunnyside offers a wealth of wit and pathos and insight, and who better to guide us through this transformational moment in history than the Little Tramp? . . . Gold’s dexterous voice can swing from the exuberant melodrama of silent film to the terror of doomed soldiers to the quiet despair of the world’s most beloved man . . . There are so many dazzling episodes–in such a wide variety of settings in so many different styles and tones–that I began to think there was nothing Gold couldn’t do . . . Most important, he has figured out how to make Chaplin strut and feint and dance in print . . . Gold captures [Chaplin] in scenes of rich psychological acuity.”
“Sunnyside is a rich concoction of a novel, a melange of historical fact, biographical speculation and outright fantasy . . . Gold is a wizard at making things up and mixing them in with things not made up . . . reinforcing the comparison to writers such as E.L. Doctorow that his first novel elicited . . . Sunnyside pops and crackles with cleverness . . . Undeniably entertaining.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“A breathless stupendous novel that recreates both a young brash America on the verge of becoming itself, and Chaplin, one of its most bewitching quixotic citizens. From lighthouse to Hollywood to starlets to war to stardom to madness to genius Gold’s startling narrative carries us across the world and back. Gold proves himself yet again to be the hungriest craftiest funniest and most humane novelist we have.”
“Glen David Gold’s Doctorow-esque Sunnyside brings young America to vivid life as he weaves together European battlefields and the backlots of Hollywood . . . Gold is a masterful, even heart-stopping storyteller.”
“Witty and often as funny as it is insightful . . . Ultimately, Sunnyside plays out much like Chaplin’s career, initially funny but moving on to something that is deeper, that plumbs the human condition without necessarily providing definitive answers . . . Grandly imagined.”
“Carter Beats the Devil [is] a hard act to follow. But Gold, fascinated by showmanship and illusion, celebrity and notoriety, had an equally alluring subject up his sleeve . . . The cascade of historic details Gold generates is breathtaking, but it is his electrifying characters, wildly inventive action replete with comedic mishaps and witty dialogue, and trenchant insights into the absurdity of war and the mythic dimension of movies that gather force and velocity to make this such a hilarious, brilliant, and transporting novel . . . Gold [is a] masterful storyteller.”
“A big, splashy novel . . . An ambitious, very well-written book full of memorable moments, not least of them starring Rin Tin Tin. Historical but not didactic, in the manner of the master of the genre, E.L. Doctorow, and more completely realized than Gold’s debut.”
“An elegant blend of reality and fiction, war drama and Hollywood glamour . . . The result is a dramatic narrative of chance and coincidence, and also a serious reconstruction of an evolving social landscape . . . Entirely satisfying: to borrow an idea from Chaplin’s great personal-artistic quest in the book, it’s a work as good as Gold.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred)
“A fantastic farrago of a novel . . . Gold has written another joyous comic novel that blends fact and fiction to the point where you won’ t really care what’s true and what’s not.”
–David Keymer, Library Journal (starred)