Debut novel for Massachusetts-based author, Elizabeth Ames, The Other’s Gold is a journey for four women as they come of age, and develop their separate lives. An American novel with somewhat of a contemporary Little Women feel, there are more human and error-centred story threads at the core of this book. A fascinating debut with plenty of characterisation and substance, Elizabeth Ames’ work is a unpredictably resonating.
Assigned to the same suite during their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorne College, Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret quickly become close, in fact, inseparable. However their bonds forged in joy, and fused by fear are weathered by mistakes that they each make, the repercussions, judgement, fear and insecurities. Seemingly human, there is a privileged element to this novel as well, as the four clearly outline that they could all have it worse.
The Other’s Gold follows follows the four friends as they move from their wild college days to their more feral days as new parents. With one part devoted to each mistake–the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite–this somewhat literary page-turner interrogates the fabric of friendships and the questions around forgiveness and tarnished relationships, and the strength of the bonds that exist between these four.
With extremely strong attention to detail and maturely written prose, it is almost impossible to suspect that this is a debut. The character-centred elements of the narrative pull you in with ease and you soon find yourself hooked on what develops between all four women as they navigate themselves in error. Their privilege makes relativity somewhat difficult but there are other elements to the novel that resonates. Ideas of motherhood, abuse of power and loss of mind, and requirement of therapy all make it a compelling tale. With much flesh and an intriguing voice to each of the four women, Ames makes it easy for us to read on, but difficult for us to put down.
With sections of the novel difficult to conceive, which I cannot mention without giving anything away, this novel is not flawless. However, I am thoroughly impressed for a debut, and if this is Ames’ first novel I am keen to read more. Her prose and narrative is entwined in the beauty of embedded detail and for this, you will keep reading.
The Other’s Gold is out now, published by Pushkin Press