Sunday, 1 April 2018

Book Review 2062 - The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

2013 English
Purchased: Kindle 2017
Read: 14th February to 1st March 2018

I loved this book, as I have loved Tartt's other novels.  Like them, it was long (I think the print edition has nearly 800 pages).  It took me a long time to read as I have not read so much in the last weeks.

The Goldfinch is a picture by an old Dutch Master, on display in a New York gallery.  Theo Decker visits the gallery with his mother, and a bomb goes off.  For some reason he decided to save the picture, keeping it in his rucksack, and then not knowing what to do with it.  He lives with a family that take him in until his indifferent father turns up and takes him off to a housing development on the edge of Las Vegas, where he befriends Boris.  Later, he moves back to New York, living with a friendly auction dealer.

There is enormous human detail here.  Tartt meticulously researches for writing, yet does not parade her knowledge.  There is time to get into the characters which makes them more human.  Theo is drawn with a sympathetic pen, and I found he thinks like I do in many situations.  The plot unhatches slowly and does not dominate the book.  It would make a splendid serial for Netflix, with a slow burn style.

I won't reveal the ending - it was mainly satisfactory.  I cared very much about Theo and what happened to him.  Boris is an unsympathetic but likeable hero.  Hobie is a wonderfully English character from an earlier period.  It is worth reading this - it is a long read, but not a difficult one.

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