The Golden Daughter
is a 1957 novel written by obscure American author David Kreutzer. It follows a retired and aging Brazilian author, Eneko Gavarro, living out his last years in Buenos Aires while attempting to finish his last and most complicated novel, a personal project about his son's divorce and the death of his, Eneko's, late wife, Marcelina. Set in 1948, The Golden Daughter
deals with the collapse of Gavarro's comfortable world of routine as shadowy forces within the city come into conflict with each other, destroying the serenity of Buenos Aires. Confused and alone, Gavarro struggles to finish his novel amidst the growing chaos as his life spirals out of control. Parallel to Gavarro's plot is a metaplot involving Kreutzer's actual struggle to finish The Golden Daughter
itself while battling his addiction to heroin. Both plots suffer from multiple inconsistencies and none of Kreutzer's narrators, or Kreutzer himself, can be considered trustworthy.
The subplot of Gavarro's pursuit by Alfonso Aureliano, an enigmatic flower-seller with a disturbing past and a disturbing amount of knowledge about Kreutzer and his books eventually comes to dominate the narrative, saturating the prose with a deep sense of paranoia. The idea that Kreutzer may be terrified of his own writing, along with Gavarro's faulty memory and the disjointed nature of the text, make The Golden Daughter
a difficult book to penetrate.
Famous as a cult horror novel, The Golden Daughter
has been out of print since 1958, having experienced only a single print run due to poor sales. There are an estimated thousand copies left in existence, and few or none in active circulation.
- Alien Geometries: Gavarro's apartment is a little off...
- And I Must Scream: Gavarro's final fate is to be sealed alive in a steel crate at the bottom of a river by unknown assailants. His son attempts to find him before time runs out, but dies himself before he can.
- Arc Words: "Don't forget."
- Author Existence Failure: The expanded and corrected second printing of the book was canceled following Kreutzer's death from a heroin overdose in July of 1958.
- Bigger on the Inside: The Reservoir.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Gavarro knows about Kreutzer and suspects that the other man is hunting him.
- Decoy Protagonist: Gavarro dies halfway through the novel, leaving his estranged son to conclude his affairs. Unusually, the son dies as well. A third protagonist, the young constable Tomeu Gomez, was intended by Kreutzer to narrate the story's conclusion.
- The Dreaded: Everyone in the city, even ruthless ex-Nazi scientist Horace Wolf, is afraid of a florist named Aureliano. Even after Aureliano is shot by Rois, Wolf refuses to touch the body out of fear.
- The Faceless: The Beast in the Bathwater, who Eneko calls Il Monstro.
- Gainax Ending: The secret to the novel's infamous ending is, in fact, that it has none. It concludes mid-sentence on its two hundred and forty-fourth page with the death of Gavarro's son during the shootout in the reservoir.
- Hope Spot: Gavarro's night at the Hotel Chevalier.
- Humanoid Abomination: The Beast in the Bathwater. Aureliano the Florist might be one.
- Madness Mantra: I can't find the rose.
- Mind Screw
- Nothing Is Scarier
- Post Modernism
- Room Full of Crazy: Aureliano's flat.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: Kreutzer's novel has a distinctly pulpy feel, but it breaks so many of the rules of its genre and of the novel format in general that it acquires its own kind of strange unreality.