Donna Tartt is not what you’d call a prolific writer, but when you read her books, you will see why. Because her novels are masterpieces. They’re not the sort of thing that can be crafted overnight. And The Goldfinch is no exception.
I LOVED The Goldfinch. Loved it. At well over 800 pages of closely-packed type, it’s not going to be for everyone. It’s not exactly an easy read, but perhaps not as challenging as you might expect of a novel of that length.
It tells the story of Theo Decker, whose life changes dramatically when his mother dies in unusual circumstances. The love he feels for his mum is tangible and beautiful. You really can feel just how much he cared for her, and she for him.
But life has to move on. At just 13, Theo is pretty much left to make his own way in the world. He is shifted from one place to the next, never feeling properly at home and never feeling really wanted. It’s perhaps not surprising that he isn’t the most likeable of characters. In his situation, I guess very few people would be all that likeable. Life has dealt him a really tough hand.
But Theo has a secret. A small picture which reminds him of his mother, which he guards with his life. Just knowing he has that picture, makes life seem that bit better.
About two-thirds of the way through the book there is a twist, which I certainly never saw coming. It sends Theo, who has always lived slightly on the edge, into a much darker world of crime.
The book is so vivid that it played at the back of my mind. It felt like I’d watched a film (it would make a brilliant film, not that two hours on screen could ever fully do it justice).
My only complaint about The Goldfinch is that the ending felt a little rushed and unsatisfactory. But this is a brilliant book, and comes highly recommended!