The Temple of Gold

Many people know William Goldman as author of The Princess Bride, also known as a campus cult flick quoted only slightly less often than Monty Python. Goldman’s first novel, The Temple of Gold, is sometimes praised as a worthy rival to The Catcher in the Rye.

Goldman’s new foreword to this reissue tells of the angst of attempts at publication, of myriad rejection slips, and an editor who finally accepts his story only to request he resubmit after doubling its length. This may not have been the best advice.

Raymond Euripides Trevitt suffers a stuffy father and bouts with the bottle in a boringly archetypal coming-of-age-in-a-college-town tale. His best friend is an ugly-but-lovable nerd of the bland sort. Euripides’ search for life’s metaphorical handle is not very pointed, nor particularly involving. Many scenes in this tale build only to end anticlimactically. There is none of the rapier wit of The Princess Bride, nor the staying power that made The Catcher in the Rye so relatable.

But it may be worth a read for those who enjoy understanding literary beginnings. This reprint also includes a previously nixed first chapter (that comes, confusingly, at the end of the book).