By: Donna Tartt
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my purchase
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 mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.
At long last I finally got around to reading this book, haha. To be honest I wasn’t planning on reading it, it was well into one of those “I’ll read it one of these days” kind of books, but then I saw it at the airport during the summer in mass market paperback format (which I didn’t think was possible; I knew enough about the book to know it was quite the tome) and picked it up 😛
Hmm, having now read this book, I have to say that it was interesting enough a read but I wasn’t like “OMG I can’t put this book down, I need to know what happens next!” Granted, I was reading this book during my breaks and during the commute to and from work, and it kept me glued enough but it didn’t wholly absorb me like I thought it would. Maybe my expectations were too high–fellow readers enjoyed it, even the book blurb up above says it’s one of those stay-up-all-night books–but I didn’t really see what was so brilliant about this book. The scope in a sense felt monumental, following Theo as his life shifted from life with his mum to a rough childhood living with his father in Las Vegas and then slumming his way back to New York. The circles he travels through are pretty varied, and that he was able to keep up was pretty impressive (though I could always feel as though things were ready to fall apart at any moment).
But ultimately I wasn’t especially moved by the story. The characters were interesting enough, as was Theo’s coming-of-age story (I felt for him and some of the crap he went through), but something felt rather clinical about this book that kept me rather detached. Not even the themes that the book addresses left me with much thought. And by the final quarter of the novel, I was ready to be done TBH. Again, maybe it was the mood and setting in which I read this book, but I just don’t see why it was lauded as much as it. Nonetheless I’m glad to have finally read a book by Donna Tartt.