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Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

The Golden Age - Joan London Print Page

Author - Joan London

Joan London, born in Western Australia 1948, is an Australian author of short stories, screenplays and novels. She studied at the University of Western Australia where she completed her courses of English and French studies. 

London is the author of two collective novels. The first was the Sistership, which won the The Age book of the year (1986), and the second is the Letter to Constantine, which won the Steel Rudd Award and the West Australia Premiers Award for fiction (1994).

In 2015, Joan London was awarded the Patrick White Award, as this award recognised authors that produce excellent work that is not overly recognised over their long period of time in the literature industry. 

London is married to Geoffery London, who is formally a Victorian Government architect. 


The Plot

This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life, from one of Australia's most loved novelists. It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. 

Frank, or Ferenc, is a Hungarian refugee who makes the connection between illness and his time as a fugitive hiding in a ceiling in war-ravaged Budapest: “he could still sense that time in the ceiling somewhere deep in his body .. He felt it as the weak spot, the broken part, the gap that had let polio in.” Australia, his place of refuge, has become a place of suffering. 

Frank Gold, born in wartime Hungary and christened Ferenc, has come with his parents to Australia, where he contracts polio at the age of twelve and is sent to The Golden Age to recover. There he meets two fellow patients who will direct, albeit indirectly, the course of his life: the critically ill Sullivan, who introduces him to the writing of poetry, and the beautiful Elsa, with whom he falls in love. It is a simple blueprint for a complex novel, in which second and third readings of individual sentences and paragraphs keep revealing additional layers of meaning


The Golden Age Nursery

Articles from Trove about the Golden Age nursery

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