Donna Tartt’s brilliant novel, The Goldfinch, is a roller coaster account of Theo Decker’s attempts to restore himself from a series of missteps and mishaps precipitated by the sudden death of his mother in a terrorist attack on the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. His touchstone, and the embodiment of the anxiety sparked from this tragedy, is Carel Fabritius’ The Goldfinch, a painting Theo nicks in the confusion following the explosion. Theo, like the goldfinch portrayed in the painting, is chained to this artwork, and the power he feels by his illicit possession of it, as well as its linkage to his beloved mother.
The characters, major and minor, are fully developed and incredibly real.
What is most remarkable about this book, however, is Tartt’s vivid, immersive writing when describing Theo’s internal turmoil as he progresses through his tumultuous life.
It bears mentioning that this novel is 775 pages. I was not aware of that when my digital loan from the library was finally available, after five months of being on the waiting list. Under the gun of a two-week loan period, I managed to finish the book, with even a few hours to spare. The fact that this book was almost impossible to put down made that feasible.