An Audio Book Extra
By Donna Tartt; Narrated by David Pittu
Over the last few years I have come across and, rather quickly, dismissed The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I can give no reason as to why, but for some reason I would see it sitting on a shelf, and then move on to the next book or item beside it. I never picked it up to hold it in my hands. I never turned it over to read the synopsis on the back cover. I never brushed my fingers along the golden feathers of the little finch that so much of the book is about. I simply saw it, judged it, and moved on.
What made me buy it all of a sudden on Audible, again, I can't explain, but I'm happy that I did. The book kind of disappeared from view for me for a while and then all of sudden, there is was again, back in my life, much like the goldfinch does with Theodore Decker, the main character and narrator of the story.
And since beginning this book - I won't lie, it has taken me a couple months to get through it - it has arisen time and time again since. Every time I have stepped into a bookstore, an airport, or even the supermarket, there it is, staring at me.
Donna Tartt is an American writer who received critical acclaim for her first two novels, The Secret History and The Little Friend, which have been translated into thirty languages. Tartt was the 2003 winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend. Her novel The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014.
The daughter of Don and Taylor Tartt, she was born in Greenwood, Mississippi but raised 32 miles away in Grenada, Mississippi. At age five, she wrote her first poem, and she first saw publication in a Mississippi literary review at age 13.
Enrolling in the University of Mississippi in 1981, she pledged to the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. Her writing caught the attention of Willie Morris while she was a freshman. Following a recommendation from Morris, Barry Hannah, then an Ole Miss Writer-in-Residence, admitted Tartt into his graduate short story course where, stated Hannah, she ranked higher than the graduate students. Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, where she was friends with fellow students Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, and Jonathan Lethem. At Bennington she studied classics with Claude Fredericks.
She divides her time between Virginia and New York City. (source)
It begins with a boy. 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 combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate. (source)
The Review & Wrap-Up:
Let me start this review by saying that I gave this book a 4 out of 5 star rating with Audible. I gave it this rating for one reason, and that one reason is why I both liked and disliked this book: the imagery.
Donna Tartt definitely did her research before writing this beautiful story. The amount of detail that she puts into this book was borderline Stephen King detail, but in a very good way. While King usually puts in too much detail, Tartt put in just enough for you to close your eyes and feel as if you're in the same room with Theo. Smelling the same smells, hearing the same sounds, having the same experiences. Her imagery made me want to visit New York during winter time; go to an antique store and look at the dovetail cut of a nineteenth century chest of drawers. It even gave me a wanting to go and try hard recreational drugs at one point! No worries, I did not, and don't actually plan to. But the details that she puts into these scenes makes you want to try these experiences for yourself to see if what she has written really happen in that way.
But this extreme detailed imagery is also what will lose a lot of readers. The extensive detail of the history and brush strokes of a single corner of a single painting will wear on a reader after a while, especially if they are not into art - which this book deals with a lot! While I am a lot like Theo's mother, someone who can go to a museum and look at the fine brush strokes of a single painting for 20 minutes - that is as long as Jack is not with me - most people in today's society are a lot more like Jack, and would much rather the fast-20-minute-breeze-through-the-museum-tour instead.
I enjoyed this book. There were times that I did get bored, or even a little lost because Theo would go off on some side description of some obscure thing, but over all I really enjoyed this book. However, I would not recommend it to everyone. If you enjoy art, imagery, history and a little crazyness and drama, then yes, you should pick up this book. If you enjoy something a little more straight forward (and don't enjoy any of the aforementioned items) then no. Move on, and don't let this goldfinch continue to haunt you like it did me or Theo.
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Pair it with: Arrière-ban Appellation Lussac-St. Émilion Contrôlée, Red blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot.
Arrière-ban, or “call to arms” in French, is a befitting name for this Lussac-St.-Émilion wine, sourced from vineyards that were once the site of the Hundred Years' War. Sophisticated, rich and concentrated, the wine is built to last, prominently displaying black-fruit flavors of cherry and currant on the palate. Save this one for a special occasion and be sure to serve it with richly marbled meats to capture its full glory. Pairs with: beef, grilled red meats, marinated red meats, prime rib. (TR Wines)
Start a conversation: Have you ever had an object take such hold of you that it haunted you? What did you do to get it to let go?
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.