Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Reading Assignment: The Goldfinch

I hesitated writing about The Goldfinch because thousands of bloggers have already covered it more eloquently than I.  What can I say that hasn't been said already?  It's good!  I liked it!

The story, which anyone can read on the blurb, is about Theo Decker, a young boy who is visiting an art museum with his mother when a terrorist's bomb explodes.  Theo escapes, carrying The Goldfinch, and his mother is killed.  The rest of the book is the aftermath.  Donna Tartt's writing is breathtaking. Every word essential to the structure and none is superfluous. There is not a single sloppy sentence.  As with her other books, little details will haunt you long after you've finished reading: a woman, dead in the bombing, whose skin retains a healthy color because of her spray tan, the well-meaning yet somehow terrible social workers from New York social services, the doormen and their subculture.  Which is another thing; how Donna Tartt manages to portray disparate groups of people with such perfect verisimilitude: the doormen; Manhattan society people; the antiques world, organized crime, Greyhound bus drivers, art theft gangs, the drug scene, and much else.  The characters too, especially Boris and Hobie and Mrs. Barbour, are so real you yearn to speak with them.

I was on the hold list at the library for months for this book and when I got it, I was worried I wouldn't be able to read all 770 pages in the three weeks allotted to me (no renewals; hundreds of people still waiting), but it was such a page-turner, and so suspenseful in some parts that I could hardly put it down.  I returned it six days early.  You're welcome.

Have you read it?  Any insights to share?  By the way, The Goldfinch is scheduled to be discussed at the Derfwad Manor book club.  Not until June, so you have plenty of time to read it.


  1. I have it and it's the next book I'm reading!

  2. I am visiting you, of course, because of Derfwad Manor! I shall look around your blog in a minute, nice to meet you! I have not read this yet BUT a) loved her first 2 books. I went to college with Donna Tartt (it was quite a time at Bennington, I was an art student but the writers were kicking ass: Bret Easton Ellis wrote and published LESS THAN ZERO as a student while he was there plus Jonathan Lethem was also a student). Donna's SECRET HISTORY was quite a good book, but was creepily similar to our shared college experience, she just fictionalized it. Secondly, my wife went to The Frick twice in recent months, saw Girl With a Pearl Earring AND this painting, which is a marvel :) Sorry about the size of this comment but ANYWAY :)

    1. Bennington was my dream college and my parents wouldn't even let me apply, LOL. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. Thanks to your review I will buy a copy, it looks fascinating. My friend recommended it highly when I had lunch with her a few days ago so that is two recommendations in a week.