The Golden Age is a novel by Joan London. It was first published in 2014. Joan London is an Australian writer who has written several short stories and novels. Her two other novels are entitled Gilgamesh and The Good Parents. The Golden Age is London’s most recent novel.
The novel is set in two different times and places. The main narrative of the book is set in Perth, Australia, in the 1950s. It follows the two main characters, Elsa and Frank, who both suffer from polio, after they first met in a rehabilitation center in Perth. The second setting of the novel is in Hungary, Frank’s country of origin. We learn about Frank's life before he was finally able to leave Hungary for Australia.
It is a historic fact that Perth was struck by a polio epidemic at the time the book is set. Thousands of people fell victim to the disease until the invention of the polio vaccine brought some protection.
The life of the Jewish population in Hungary is also portrayed very realistically. During World War II, Jews were persecuted not only in Germany, but also in all the countries which were under German occupation. Therefore, Jews living in Hungary were not safe, especially not after the German occupation in 1944. Jews were often arrested and put into labor camps or concentration camps, unless they were lucky enough to hide and flee the country like Frank.
Therefore, it can be said that while this novel is fiction, it is very well-researched historical fiction. It refers to many historical facts, which lend authenticity to an otherwise fictional story line.