It’s 1973, and a thirty-something widow has been cajoled by a young hippie parasite into financing their vacation to a nudist colony in the Northern California mountains. The night before their departure, however, she arrives home to learn that she and this man will be accompanied by the stripper on his lap. At Camp Freedom Lake, the trio meet a womanizing evangelist, a bumbling Zen gardener, and a pair of aging drug-addled swingers from Holland. Together, they’re catapulted through one improbable event after the other, each stranger than the last, until finally the woman who was dominated by her fear of past and future finds herself reveling in the great here and now.
D. Foy’s Absolutely Golden is a radical departure from his two previous novels, Made to Break and Patricide. It’s comic, ebullient, magic, light, gently surrealistic. It’s rollicking, effervescent, slyly profound. But more, this brisk tale offers a kaleidoscopic look at parts of the 1970s we haven’t often seen in fiction—nudism, New Age philosophy, Eastern religion, the occult, swingers culture, California culture, and then some.
Best of all, Foy tells his story in the guise of a woman obsessed with the notion that she’ll never find another man until she’s rid of what she believes to be a mysterious curse. As if written in the marriage of Vladimir Nabokov, Renata Adler, and Anaïs Nin, her words transport us from doubt, despair, and dread into states of increasing wonder and euphoria.
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“Imagine that Virginia Woolf fell asleep reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream and called up a fizzy time and place that didn’t yet exist: 1970s California. In Absolutely Golden, D. Foy—on whose sentences we can stake our lives—has distilled pure, mind-blowing enchantment.”
“D. Foy has a profound understanding of both the human tragicomedy and the eternal tension between the yin and yang of carnal desire and the whip-cracking superego. His narrator Rachel, a 38-year-old schoolteacher and widow, is a funny, effortlessly likeable character who wants to believe in other people’s goodness but knows not to trust appearances, especially when stumbling through her stay at a nudist colony with a ne’er-do-well boyfriend and his stripper ‘cousin.’ Absolutely Golden is a wholly original novel full of extraordinary, richly-drawn characters who find themselves in—no surprise—supremely memorable situations.”
“Absolutely Golden encapsulates everything that is sexy, irreverent, absurdist, and hilarious about America. It’s a mid-life check-in, a stripped examination of identity, a self- and social transformation. D. Foy is an American hero—or should I say, anti-hero—and this book is for all of us, all of you, even as it is wholly and singularly his own. It will slay you. There is no other like it.”
“Absolutely Golden is a luscious, chewy journey through the hopes and deceptions of 1970s alt-America. Its bawdy characters will enchant you; the vitality of D. Foy’s prose will make you weep. He is one of the most urgent and original fiction writers working today, and to read him is a reminder to keep dreaming out of bounds.”
“Absolutely Golden absolutely captures the hairy salaciousness of the 1970s in a tight, beautifully-rendered little package. Gyrating seamlessly between the hilarious and profound, D. Foy’s prose never falters, and the Vaseline-smeared lens he directs onto the subculture of naturism at its peak is at once unsparing and wonderfully doting. I love this book.”
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Vol. 1 Brooklyn: “Absolutely Golden is a complete joy, hilarious and affecting . . . It has everything: intrigue, recovery, carnival atmosphere, a naked jazz band, and tons of gags. D. Foy continues to showcase his virtuosity of tone and voice, and you’ll be laughing on the train, as people around you try to figure out the cover’s prominent cleavage. This one’s for acolytes and for long-standing fans.”
BOMB: “A ticklish breeze of a novel, funny and revelatory, Absolutely Golden is a spin on the divide between youth and maturity, purity and experience, put-on and genuine self-expression. It moves from insidious darkness to unabashed uplift, a decided change of tack from Foy’s tonally bleaker first two books, Made to Break and Patricide. Foy, a signature prose stylist, has published his fizziest novel to date.”
The Brooklyn Rail: “Absolutely Golden is a breathlessly rendered work, delirious, like a wild rush through a meadow or a ride on a runaway carousel.”
Los Angeles Review of Books: “D. Foy’s latest novel, Absolutely Golden, is a great time — although maybe not for some of its characters. It takes a sharp turn from the gritty textures and subjects of his previous novels, Made to Break and Patricide, while retaining their tonal dexterity. Set in the early 1970s, Absolutely Golden takes place almost entirely at a nudist colony, where drugs and gnarly sunburns abound. The effervescent prose keeps the novel feeling crisp and clean, as we watch its characters struggle, fail, and eventually awaken from despair. In the end, Absolutely Golden is a novel about transformation.”
CLASH: “An awakening happens throughout Absolutely Golden, a sort of self-reflection from the inside that eventually moves outward. The hedonistic atmosphere is full of twists and turns that come upon the protagonist seemingly by accident, but in hindsight are far from a coincidence . . . D. Foy is a literary guru who will enlighten you, and make you feel whole with the universe. He will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on your journey through life’s ups and downs.”
Fanzine: “After two dark, crushing novels, Foy stretches toward the light with the story of a repressed, anxious widow who finds herself in a nudist colony. The prose [in Absolutely Golden] is distinctly Foy’s, wicked and sharp, but the story is unlike anything he’s tackled before.”
Heavy Feather Review: “D. Foy’s first two novels are not light, to say the least. Made to Break and Patricide tackle dysfunctional friendships, betrayal, dysfunctional families, abusive fathers, pre-teen drug use, violence, death, depression, and more violence. Both received rave reviews and rocketed Foy into indie publishing darling status, a position he deserves on the strength of his prose alone (magically alternating between terse and purple). Set in a nudist camp in 1973 Northern California and featuring a female first-person narrator, Absolutely Golden is actually light-hearted fare, but certainly lacks no depth.”
The Big Smoke America: “Reading Absolutely Golden was like reading an impromptu jazz performance . . . D. Foy take[s] a preexisting form and create[s] something new . . . I kept thinking about the Beat movement and how Kerouac and Burroughs were able to tell a story by tying it into a pretzel, but in the end give the reader something poignant.”
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