The Goldberg Variations is a series of 3 novels and a prequel covering the growth of the main character, Jamie Goldberg, whose search for identity and a sense of self is hampered by tremendous emotional obstacles and haunted by a past he has trouble confronting.
The Goldberg Variations: Jamie's Early Years
Jamie's Early Years covers the heart wrenching defining moments in Jamie's life when he was ill prepared to handle them. In too quick a succession Jamie is confronted with a strained family relationship, the Detroit 1967 riots, and an abusive sexual relationship. This prequel lays the ground work for the main novels but is not a prerequisite to reading the subsequent novels. The novels are all written to stand on their own, though obviously one will derive more meaning from them if read in the sequential order.
The Goldberg Variations: Rites of Passage
Jamie Goldberg suspects his homosexuality at an early age and manages to hide it from his homophobic ’70’s Detroit Community; his Jewish political activist parents; and even from himself until his rape, at the hands of a male prostitute, at the age of 15. Profoundly ashamed, he hides in two worlds one is a beautiful cocoon spun from music, art, theater and literature, another is darker with a sado-masochistic desire to obliterate his sexuality. Jamie must face his demons, both real and invented, discovering in the end that personal discovery comes at a very high price. But even the most challenged, when they dare to cast away labels, deserve a moment or two of grace.