New Novel Twists History

Posted by Anneli Rufus at 1:54 pm, Friday, May 22, 2009

In the early pages of Glen David Gold’s new novel Sunnyside, Charlie Chaplin is sighted in more than 800 places at the same time on November 12, 1916. One of these places is on “a small boat bobbing in the swells” off the Northern California coast within sight of a lighthouse whose “brilliant spotlight … swept away all color in the flood of illumination, casting its view into white or penumbral mystery.” Out there on the boat, the derby-hatted Chaplin stands “rubbing his chin, and waggling his mustache as if itched by a puzzling thought.” A rowboat crew rushes out to rescue him, but too late: “A wave crashed down upon the boat, and Charlie Chaplin was blown below the surface” to his doom.

Or was he? Throughout this novel, Chaplin is among a teeming cast of characters, both real and fictional, engaging in love and war and filmmaking around the world. It is the second novel in which author Gold casts flesh-and-blood historical figures with folks he just made up. His previous book Carter Beats the Devil was based on real-life magician Charles Carter.

“I apologize to students of truth who find themselves arguing with information contained herein,” Gold writes in the credits to Sunnyside. “… On November 12, 1916, Charlie Chaplin was indeed the subject of mass hysteria. And on September 15, 1918, Leland Duncan found two puppies on the World War I battlefield and named them after finger puppets. The surviving dog was the most successful film star of the 1920s. … I got some things wrong on purpose … and there are probably some things you know that I don’t.”

In a statement composed subsequently, Gold adds: “While I was working on Sunnyside, I realized to my embarrassment I was writing about something of importance. Try as I might to keep it light entertainment (and yes, there are train chases, dancing princesses, clever jewel robberies, crossbow executions, rescues at sea and battles with flamethrowers), it turned out that I was writing a novel of ideas.”



9 Responses to “New Novel Twists History”

  1. Rave Says:


    Visit Rave

    I adore Chaplin!

  2. Chris Says:


    Visit Chris

    I have been Gold’s fan for a while. Given though that his first book Carter Beats the Devil was a true life story of a magician, it shouldn’t have surprised him that his audience book far more seriously than he would have liked.

  3. K. Printer Says:


    Visit K. Printer

    “… and there are probably some things you know that I don’t.””

    That alone makes me love this author! Absolutely brilliant way to (hopefully) put the kybosh on whiners.

    K~
    Tucson Printing

  4. skinny thighs Says:


    Visit skinny thighs

    Yes the sunny side is a great book and one of the reason because of the combination of reality and fiction. If want to know some of the truth then read a history books. Novels are for entertaining regardless of the subject.

  5. Michael Says:


    Visit Michael

    I see that Sunnyside has 65 reviews over at Amazon and they are mostly positive; I will have to check it out as I love Chaplin although I have never read any of Gold’s books.

  6. Roy Says:


    Visit Roy

    It’s always nice to be reminded of Charlie Chaplin. Silent movies leave more to the imagination, just as radio drama does.

  7. nathan anderson Says:


    Visit nathan anderson

    I am not really a fan of Gold. However, I think that he is a good author since he has received good feedback. I love reading, though. Sounds like Gold rocks.

    Copywriting

  8. Dave Says:


    Visit Dave

    “In a statement composed subsequently, Gold adds: “While I was working on Sunnyside, I realized to my embarrassment I was writing about something of importance. Try as I might to keep it light entertainment (and yes, there are train chases, dancing princesses, clever jewel robberies, crossbow executions, rescues at sea and battles with flamethrowers), it turned out that I was writing a novel of ideas.” —Well, sometimes, significant things happen with unknowing steps. We just do not know how many people we encourage or lighten up with our ideas. We should not hide things in a shell. Otherwise, we will keep the cemetery the richest place in the world—where unwritten novels and songs; and concealed ideas remain buried.

  9. Tom Oak Says:


    Visit Tom Oak

    I read David’s first book “Carter Beats the Devil” and really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading a copy of this one!


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