‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt: what an emotional roller coaster!

Summary:

“Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.”

Taken from the publisher’s website: http://www.littlebrown.co.uk

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Why should you read this book?

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt was published in 2013 and is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014, as well as the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. In a nutshell, this book tells the story of Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old boy, that survives a terrorist attack, in New York City. Although he is a survivor, he suffers a huge loss that will affect him throughout his entire life.

Let’s start by saying that reading The Goldfinch was a roller coaster of emotions for me. I fell in love with the book from the very beginning but I kept debating myself with it. I definitely had mixed feelings about it. I felt frustration, sadness and even boredom at times. But I was in love with this book and I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

Why was I feeling frustrated? Well, I think the writing is brilliant but it’s a slow-paced book. And when a novel has almost 900 pages, it can be challenging. There are pages, for instance, where nothing really happens. There’s also this moment when Theo moves to Las Vegas that I think that could have been shorter or more well-developed. During those long chapters, most of the action happens in the same place with the same characters. The last aspect that bothered me is that The Goldfinch is a male-centered novel. I liked Theo and part of the magic of this book is how deep we get into his mind. But all the well-developed characters were men: Boris, Theo and Hobbie. The only female character that is extremely important in this novel is Theo’s mother who we only get to know through his eyes.

BUT, as I said, in spite of its flaws, I absolutely loved this book. This coming-of-age story is very unique and it was such a transcendental read. I devoured this novel. And it just felt like my home at that moment. Reading it was the thing I was yearning to do during those days. And I think what really fascinated me about this book isn’t the plot but the writing that it’s addictive, brilliant and marvelous. It’s a masterpiece.

I also think this book has one of the most wonderful endings I have ever read in my life. If Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov has perhaps the greatest introductory pages, The Goldfinch has a sublime conclusion. It is a remarkable book without a shred of doubt.

I’d like to thank Little Brown UK for the free copy. You can buy the book here.

“Because, here’s the truth: life is catastrophe. The basic fact of existence – of walking around trying to feed ourselves and find friends and whatever else we do – is catastrophe.”

Book Details:

Publisher: Little, Brown (UK)
Published on: June 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 880
Price: £9,99

4 stars

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