Publication Date: 28/04/2022 ISBN: 9781398509054 Category:

Gold Diggers

Sanjena Sathian

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publication Date: 28/04/2022 ISBN: 9781398509054 Category:
Paperback / Softback




* A Book of the Month pick by CNN, Bustle, PopSugar, Entertainment Weekly and Vox *
* One of The Washington Post’s 10 Best Books of 2021 *
* Longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize *

‘Achingly familiar and marvellously inventive… a dizzyingly original, fiercely funny, deeply wise novel’ Celeste Ng
‘Completely original, utterly absorbing, complex and confident’ Karen Joy Fowler
‘Truly funny, insightful, smart and filled with wonderful characters… unmissable’ Ann Napolitano


Neil Narayan’s parents moved to America for a better life, and his perfect older sister is now headed to an elite university. Neil is funny and smart, but he is not living up to his parents’ dream. While he tries to want their version of success, mostly, Neil just wants his neighbour across the street, Anita Dayal.

Once a lot like Neil, Anita is truly thriving academically, athletically and socially. Anita has a secret: she and her mother Anjali have been brewing an ancient alchemical potion from stolen gold that harnesses the ambition of the jewellery’s original owner. Anita just needs a little boost to get into Harvard. When Neil – who needs a whole lot more – stumbles onto their secret and joins in the plot, events spiral into a tragedy that rips their community apart.

Ten years later, Neil is an oft-stoned history grad student studying the California gold rush. Anita has given up her high-flying tech career and is working as an event planner, just for now. Anjali, the woman who gave them both so much, is in trouble, and only gold can save her. What choice do Anita and Neil have but to pull off one last heist?

Gold Diggers is a dazzling coming-of-age story that speaks to anyone who ever wondered quite how they belong, and who ever dreamed of being the very best they could be.

‘Blends magic, mythology, alchemy and melodrama into a story about anxiety, assimilation and ambition… A delightful concoction’ Guardian

‘A smart and inventive coming-of-age tale that blends magical realism with a literary exploration of identity and the American dream’ Culturefly

‘A funny, fresh voice in fiction and an intricately layered story full of believable characters and just a smidge of magical realism’ Red

‘A brilliant, dazzling coming-of-age story’ Woman’s Own

‘A spellbinding read’ heat

‘This smart coming-of-age tale dazzles’ Evening Standard

Publisher Review

'In a perfect alchemical blend of familiar and un-, Gold Diggers takes a wincingly hilarious coming-of-age story, laces it with magical realism and a trace of satire, and creates a world that's both achingly familiar and marvelously inventive. Written with such assurance it's hard to believe it's Sanjena Sathian's debut, this is a dizzyingly original, fiercely funny, deeply wise novel about the seductive powers - and dangers - of borrowed ambition' Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere 'In an alchemic blend of modern American ambition and ancient myth, this sometimes fiercely funny caper, sometimes heart-breaking coming of age story, is a truly immersive read. In the end, Gold Diggers is a beautifully crafted, strange, and deeply touching story about the search for national and personal identity. A gorgeous and gripping read' Nydia Hetherington, author of A Girl Made of Air 'Is the American dream about hard work and sacrifice or is it about the lure of the Gold Rush, of quick riches there for the taking? Greed, regret and love are all at work here in Sathian's completely original, utterly absorbing, complex and confident debut novel. A bravura performance from an exciting new voice' Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves 'A work of 24-karat genius... Sathian has created a funny, compassionate, tragic novel of astonishing cultural richness... The result is a novel of Indian magic and modern technology, a parody of New World ambition and an elegy of assimilation' Washington Post 'In some ways, Gold Diggers is a delightful concoction of the best of South Asia's literary offerings, reminiscent of Hanif Kureishi's irreverent humour in The Buddha of Suburbia and the magic realism of Mohsin Hamid's Exit West. But Sathian has forged a narrative path entirely her own... she tackles issues of mental health, the "model minority" trap and the generation gap with a fresh literary toolkit and voice' Guardian '[A]chingly real reminders of what it was like to be an adolescent in post-9/11 America, feeling the weight of your parents' dreams on your shoulders... The tension Sathian builds is one of teenage insecurity swelling into adulthood, until disillusion overthrows the tyranny of American perfectionism... exquisite prose humming with contagious anxiety' New York Times Book Review 'This terrific debut novel uses heists and alchemy to deconstruct immigrant ambition, striving and sin... what makes the novel so compelling is the playfulness with which Sathian deconstructs it. You feel for the characters and the ways they have been warped by their pursuit of greatness and the ways they are haunted by their sins - but also, there are heists and alchemy. It's a blast' Vox 'The coming-of-age genre meets magical realism meets heist caper... Funny and exciting, it's an entertaining new twist on the immigrant experience' CNN 'Deftly weaves together magic and history to produce a compelling coming-of-age story' New Yorker 'Upends our ideas of what it takes to make it in America. Smart, funny and completely engrossing' Andrew Ridker, author of The Altruists 'Gold Diggers is so many things - truly funny, insightful, smart and filled with wonderful characters. I loved reading this novel, and loved watching Neil Narayan grow up and grapple with the America his immigrant parents believed in. Neil's journey to figuring out what he believes, which includes a multi-layered exploration into the properties of gold, and his strange and wonderful friendship with his next door neighbor, Anita, make this story unmissable' Ann Napolitano, bestselling author of Dear Edward 'Rollicking, at times painful and ultimately intensely satisfying... twines historical fictions and truths and family histories into the main narrative, exemplifying how time both does and does not make a linear kind of sense, how past, present and future's paths collide at times in unexpected ways' NPR 'A dazzling and delightful work of fiction by an exciting new literary talent... Sathian has produced a beguiling elixir with Gold Diggers, skilfully stirring myth into a playful yet powerful modern-day examination of the American dream and the second-generation citizens who pursue it. A fabulist amalgam of The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye, it's an engrossing cautionary tale as well as a shrewd appraisal of what we consider success - and the moral sacrifices we make to achieve it. Imaginative and intoxicating, Gold Diggers richly rewards its readers' BookPage 'Filled with pathos, humor, slices of American history and an adrenaline-pumping heist, Sathian's spectacular debut also highlights the steep costs of the all-American dream... Pure gold' Booklist 'A sprawling tale of magical realism, gold heists and the quest to attain the American dream' PopSugar 'A feast of a story... breaks apart the mythology of monolithic culture with the perfect alchemy of humour, magic and irresistible albeit flawed people. Let it sweep you off your feet' BuzzFeed 'A sweeping tale that combines the classic coming-of-age and teenage rebellion genre with magic realism and social satire... a riveting read... Sathian's prose potently captures the weight of the model minority myth and the constraints it places on a certain subset of Asian Americans' Huffington Post 'Sathian's satire is pitch perfect... She captures not only the melancholia of the immigrant's social estrangement, but also the painful expectation that this melancholia should be worth it somehow, that one should achieve and then achieve some more... The heist is magnificent - canny and moving and just plain fun... Her prose lifts off: there's a delight she takes in writing humorously about magic that shows off the scope of her immense talent.' LA Review of Books

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