The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt is like the Fabritius painting in the title – an absolute materpiece.
Its breathtakingly sumptuous detail is overwhelming whilst its exploration of tragedy and loss is epically profound. Just when you think Theo’s life couldn’t get any worse, or that finally a ray of sunshine has broken through the gunmetal-grey New York clouds, Tartt promptly kicks the reader in the stomach. You wouldn’t think she’d be like that, to look at her.
I urge you to read it. It is a work of genius.
Here’s the blurb from the cover:
“Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, miraculously 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 bewildered by his new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years he clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the criminal underworld.
As he grows up, Theo learns to glide 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 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.”