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Extended Audio Sample Sunnyside, by Glen David Gold Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (771 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Glen David Gold Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2009 ISBN: 9780739376386
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Sunnyside opens on a winter day in 1916, during which Charlie Chaplin is spotted in more than 800 places simultaneously, an extraordinary delusion that forever binds the overlapping fortunes of three men: Leland Wheeler, son of the world's last (and worst) Wild West star, as he finds unexpected love on the battlefields of France; Hugo Black, drafted to fight under the towering General Edmund Ironside in America's doomed expedition against the Bolsheviks; and Chaplin himself, as he faces a tightening vise of complications - studio moguls, questions about his patriotism, his unchecked heart, and, most menacing of all, his mother.

The narrative is as rich and expansive as the ground it covers, and it is cast with a dazzling roster of both real and fictional characters: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Adolph Zukor, Chaplin's (first) child bride, a thieving Girl Scout, the secretary of the treasury, a lovesick film theorist, three Russian princesses (gracious, nervous, and nihilist), a crew of fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants moviemakers, legions of starstruck fans, and Rin Tin Tin.

By turns lighthearted and profound, Sunnyside is an altogether spellbinding novel about dreams, ambition, and the dawn of the modern age.

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paula | 2/12/2014

    " How disappointing. Sunnyside started out with a brilliant idea and a very cinematic style, and then....phbbbbtttt. All of the characters were pretty unpleasant (yes, even Charlie Chaplin), but worse than that, they were boring. I really gave this one a try as I mostly enjoyed Carter Beats the Devil, but gave up around 100 pages in. I'm really not sure why this got such great reviews in the press. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie | 1/30/2014

    " Long and slow(ish) moving, but, for me, worth it. I'd love to have someone else read this and see what they make of it. Any takers? The book is set in 1917-1919 era. Charlie Chaplin is in Southern California making movies. Two other young men, one from California, one from Michigan are also in the book. Each of these three, all about the same age, has but the most tenuous connection to each other. Also appearing throughout is a young girl from a family of con artists who impacts the lives of each of these men--again, only with the most tenuous contact. At the end this girl seems to appear several places at once, just as Chaplin does at the beginning of the book. Curious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan | 1/24/2014

    " A fantastic addition to the epic Americana novel tradition. Vivid characters and deeply researched settings bring a fascinating time period to life. Gold is a wiz at turning historical figures into fiction; in this case Charlie Chaplin and a host of other silent film era folks rub shoulders with other, strictly fictional characters to paint a lush, multi-layered portrait of America between the Wars. Fans of E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime, Billy Bathgate), T.C. Boyle (The Road To Wellville), William Boyd (Any Human Heart, The New Confessions), and of course Gold's fantastic first novel, Carter Beats The Devil, should not pass this one up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 meri | 1/19/2014

    " Now I want to read the upcoming book about Rin Tin Tin.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 1/4/2014

    " Lots of good stuff, but doesn't completely hold together. I loved Carter Beats the Devil, his first book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah | 12/23/2013

    " I did not really like Gold's portrayal of Charlie Chaplin, and the three or so plotlines in this book got difficult to follow after awhile. Too long, too slow, and too boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 12/10/2013

    " I liked the Lee storyline. Charlie's was second. And there there were more than I kept track of successfully. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean | 8/1/2013

    " This started slowly, but really grew on me. A bit absurd, a bit reminiscent of Ragtime, but fun if you go with the flow. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 11/10/2012

    " Well-written, sweeping scope, lots of characters - I got bored and stopped. Didn't really see the point. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Waters | 7/3/2012

    " Not as good as Carter Beats the Devil, but worth a read. Loved the Russian sub story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 2/20/2012

    " Ehhhh. Not as good as Carter Beats the Devil. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanna | 1/2/2012

    " I enjoyed it but not as much as 'Carter...', it was quite slow going throughout but the stories were all engaging "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dana | 12/27/2011

    " sorry to give it a 1, but never really liked any of it. no question he's a good writer, but really i just didn't get this book. didn't find a point, didn't care for the characters or story. found no redeeming qualities. no like my experience with carter beats the devil AT ALL. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 5/9/2011

    " What a wild read! Gold is always entertaining, but this book had a whole lot more going on. It has been nearly six months since I read the book, and scenes still haunt me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bill | 3/23/2011

    " Sad, really. I had such high hopes because I thoroughly enjoyed Carter Beats the Devil. Sigh. But I'm learning that if I'm not hooked 100 pages in, it's time to just let it go. So I'm letting this one go. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 3/17/2011

    " Overlong "Ragtime"-wannabe; still: interesting, funny, intelligent, provoking and entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanna | 2/8/2011

    " I enjoyed it but not as much as 'Carter...', it was quite slow going throughout but the stories were all engaging "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jasmine | 12/6/2010

    " Wonderful premise. Intriguing beginning and then it loses momentum, becoming patchy and convoluted with too many intertwined sub-plots. What is initially exciting gradually becomes laborious for the reader. A book for those with greater stamina than I. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann | 11/23/2010

    " Interesting look at Charlie Chaplin, who I know nothing about, early Hollywood and WWI. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan | 9/12/2010

    " Loved it...such a wide range of storylines and the Chaplin input is genius. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathryn | 8/19/2010

    " I was expecting a biography of Charlie Chaplin, and instead got his early cinimatic career in the early 1900's, along with history of two other men. I thought these three people would connect at some point, but they don't. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 8/9/2010

    " Absolutely, hands down, one of my favorite books. Ever.

    Old Hollywood meets the bitter Russian Front meets the Wild Wild West show meets capitalism meets the intrinsic loss of innocence felt 'round the war-battered world meets Charlie Chaplin. (And again, this time in reverse.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caitlin | 8/1/2010

    " I would give it 2 1/2 stars. I liked it enough not to really dislike it, but I didn't like it enough to whole-heartedly give it 3 stars. I didn't really care enough about the characters and found myself skimming the sections that had to do with Ironside and Hugo. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 7/13/2010

    " A new contender for my favorite book of all time. An incredibly well-written and moving novel. "

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