Absolutely Golden is the tale of a widow named Rachel, who hesitantly relocates to a nudist camp with her burnout boyfriend and his side chick as a means to experience more of life’s pleasures and achieve a fresh start. The story itself is vivacious, filled with sex, drugs, and sunburnt flesh, but what really makes this book stand out is D. Foy’s seductive style. The prose is as smooth as silk, baby. It goes down like sugar, but with sustenance that you can’t ignore.
“The lights were spangling, the crowd was nuts. And the roar of lions, and the screech of apes, and flamethrowers and giants and chicken-gobbling geeks—all were there in my whirligig mind, what used to be me but was now another, unsure as a savage in a new pair of shoes.”
The dialogue of Absolutely Golden is as animated as that of a live-action play. In tandem with the hilarious hippie slang comes a kind of haunting insight into the world that only those who have broken through to the other side could produce. There are digressions into the subjects of belly dancing, the Hand of Glory, and Donald Duck, each of which offer a seamless compliment to the overarching narrative. The momentum never suffers and is sometimes even fueled by deviation.
An awakening happens throughout the book, 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. As Rachel becomes more comfortable in her own skin, she reclaims her beauty as something entirely her own, and emerges from a kind of baptism as a changed person. The themes of love, death, and rebirth are all present, but with a unique interpretation that makes D. Foy’s writing both innovative and enduring.
“The face before mine was hauntingly familiar, while nothing about it made a scratch of sense. I was lost, I was nothing, no longer a person, I knew, or even a thing, what I was was not. And then with the same swelling rush of the moment before, sick in every cell, I disintegrated, left to myself, the woman I thought I’d known but hadn’t, then or ever.”
Absolutely Golden is a far-out tale that grooves right along, alluring the reader until it has you by the heartstrings and doesn’t let go. 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. At one point, the character Jomar says, “That was just about the heaviest load of mindblow I’ve heard in years, man! I’ve got to give it to you, that was primo.” By the end of Absolutely Golden, you will be saying the same thing.
D. Foy is the author of the novels Made to Break and Patricide, and Absolutely Golden. His work has appeared in Guernica, Salon, Hazlitt, Post Road, Electric Literature, BOMB, The Literary Review, Midnight Breakfast, The Scofield, and The Georgia Review, among many others, and has been included in the books Laundromat, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and A Moment’s Notice.
Benjamin DeVos is the author of the forthcoming novella The Bar Is Low (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018) among others. He is the head editor of Apocalypse Party and lives in Philadelphia.