The Goldberg Variations

The Redemption of the Damned

Fiction - LGBTQ
390 Pages
Reviewed on 01/17/2022
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Author Biography

Jonathan Arnowitz Taylor is an American Born writer and designer living in Bologna, Italy. Recently he has published his first two novels, The Rites of Passage and The Redemption of the Damned, the first two installments of a three-volume series, The Goldberg Variations. He is also a leading designer for creating user-friendly technology and has worked for companies such as Google, Nokia, IBM, and the Dutch design bureau Informaat and most recently Cisco Systems. Jonathan has published two books on User Experience design and is a former editor of Interactions magazine and the author of over 80 articles on design and design management.
This book, The Redemption of the Damned, is the second in the trilogy of The Goldberg Variations following Jamie Goldberg’s coming of age from sexually victimized young child to budding gay youth to finally learning the lessons of life needed to truly emancipate himself. As this book will show, Jonathan’s passions include the human condition, theater, opera, travel, social justice, and communities. All of these passions figure prominently in his writing. Jonathan graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Theater Arts. A leader in the community of alternative sexuality, he is the title holder of the 2013 International Master/slave education title, which he earned with his now deceased husband Morris Taylor. The Resurrection of the Struggle is Jonathan’s third novel in the The Goldberg Variations series is expected to be published in late 2022.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Goldberg Variations: The Redemption of the Damned by Jonathan Arnowitz Taylor is the story of a young man on the path to self-acceptance. Jamie Goldberg was gay. He was aware of his sexuality and out of the closet, but things were not good. His past wasn’t letting him live his present or look forward to the future. Jamie’s past was filled with horrific sexual abuse and that ruled his present. Depressed, stressed, and plagued with suicidal thoughts, Jamie was desperate to cling to anything or anyone that would give him a respite from the pain. Lost and searching for salvation, he found a group of people who helped him understand the true meaning of family. Suddenly Jamie had friends, shoulders to lean on, a hug when he wanted to cry, and people to share his love for music. But before he could be truly happy, he needed to confront his past, make his peace, and move forward to the future.

Jamie’s character was experiencing self-loathing from the moment the story began. The emotions were running high. I could feel his despair and the way he was desperately grasping for a break. Coming out of the closet was the easy part for Jamie even if his parents asked him never to show his face, even if he was “cured.” He got to study the subject he wanted to at college, and the freedom did wonders for his self-esteem. However, that was all short-lived as coming out was only part of the process, and now that he had freedom, he was often perceived as promiscuous. However, it all worked toward Jamie’s growth as a man who understood himself and understood what it meant to be happy. Music, friendships, relationships, and freedom played a very important role in the story. Freedom, in fact, had multiple facets, and the author explored each of them. The narrative was smooth, fast-paced, and revolved around Jamie’s growth. Jonathan Arnowitz Taylor captured the essence of the early 80s, gave a strong argument to LGBT visibility, and how being singled out could impact a person’s life. The Goldberg Variations was more than just about Jamie’s sexual awakening; it was the story of his coming-of-age in a sense.