Something Red

A Novel

Something Red

When Jennifer Gilmore’s first novel, Golden Country, was published, The New York Times Book Review called it "an ingeniously plotted family yarn" and praised her as an author who "enlivens the myth of the American Dream." Gilmore’s particular gift for distilling history into a hugely satisfying, multigenerational family story is taken to new levels in her second novel.

In Washington, D.C., life inside the Goldstein home is as tumultuous as the shifting landscape of the times. It is 1979, and Benjamin is heading off to college and sixteen-year-old Vanessa is in the throes of a rocky adolescence. Sharon, a caterer for the Washington elite, ventures into a cultlike organization. And Dennis, whose government job often takes him to Moscow, tries to live up to his father’s legacy as a union organizer and community leader.

The rise of communism and the execution of the Rosenbergs is history. The Cold War is waning, the soldiers who fought in Vietnam have all come home, and Carter is president. The age of protest has come and gone and yet each of the Goldsteins is forced to confront the changes the new decade will bring and explore what it really means to be a radical.

Something Red
is at once a poignant story of husbands and wives, parents and children, activists and spies, and a masterfully built novel that unfurls with suspense and humor.


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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Something Red includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Jennifer Gilmore. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 



It’s 1980 in Washington D.C. and the domestic disturbances of the Goldstein family – a son going off to college, a daughter in the throes of adolescence, a mother’s mid-life crisis– inevitably collide with the shifting political landscape of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the end of the Cold War and the grain embargo against the U.S.S.R.

Navigating three generations, Jennifer Gilmore deftly intertwines the lives of her indelible characters as their marriages, faith and politics play out against the backdrop of history – the execution of the Rosenbergs, the Olympic boycott and the Iranian hostage crisis. Something Red is at once a poignant story of husbands and wives, parents and children, activists and spies and a brilliant novel crackling with energy, humor, and intelligence.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1.) Gilmore includes an epigraph selected from Grace Paley’s “Faith in the Afterno see more

More Books from this Author

The Mothers
Golden Country

About the Author

Jennifer Gilmore
Photograph by Pedro Barbeito

Jennifer Gilmore

Jennifer Gilmore is the author Golden Country, a 2006 New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Jewish Book Award, and Something Red, a New York Times Notable Book of 2010. Her work has appeared in Allure, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, and The Washington Post. She lives in Brooklyn.


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