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.
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 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.”