Ever since closing the final page on The Secret History, I have been waiting for Donna Tartt to write a new novel. So why then have I waited almost three months to read The Goldfinch? No real reason except life got in the way. The cover of this 800 page book has been staring at me — calling to me — but yet I could not commit to reading 800 pages until last month. Life slowed down a little and I was able to sit down with this chunkster. I will admit I was nervous to read The Goldfinch. Why? Because it seemed that EVERYONE loved it. It was the #1 pick on just about every end of the year “Best of” list and I was scared that it would fall flat for me. What if I was that ONE person who didn’t like it? The only warning I will give you before you pick up The Goldfinch is to turn off your phone — put everything else aside. Trust me you don’t want the distractions!
This is one of those books. It’s a book that affirmed my faith in literature and astonished me with its grace, power, poise and brilliance. Tartt may actually have written one of the greatest books I’ve ever read and I don’t say that lightly.
Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity.
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch is a novel that pulls you in and doesn’t let go. It will keep you up late into the night. There are so many heartbreaking events in this novel, random twists and turns of fate. Tartt has written a novel that is flawlessly constructed. Every element, every twist, every turn of fate, every character and detail has its place and you will read every single word, including the epitaphs at the start of a chapter. Tartt takes you on the most incredible journey from the Upper West Side moneyed elite to gambling addicts in the suburbs of Vegas; from a Lower East Side drug den to the charming streets of Amsterdam. Philosophy, art history, baccarat, heroin, childhood bullies, mothers and sons; the bonds between people that last a lifetime and lastly the power of art to change a life — The Goldfinch is truly an enthralling book. It is a book that I will not forget quickly — if at all.
Have you read The Goldfinch? What did you think?
The Goldfinch can be purchased from Amazon.
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