Friday, January 17, 2014

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tart
Little, Brown, 2013. 771 Pgs. Fiction

Theo Decker's semi-normal New York childhood is overturned when terrorists attack the MET. His mother is killed in the explosion, and he accidentally steals the famous Dutch painting, 'The Goldfinch'. In the following years, Theo is haunted by the death of his mother and by his choice to keep the stolen painting. Tart perfectly captures the psyche of a child with a secret: Theo worries over the morality of his decision and blames himself entirely, just as children do. Though Theo grows up and entertainingly descends into a life of drugs and crime, his childhood secret and the beauty of the painting remain at the heart of the work.

A lot has been said about the length of this work in the media, but I am of the opinion that a good story well told is worth reading whatever its length. Donna Tart is a masterful author, well able to handle multiple plots and digressions without loosing the reader's attention. She perfectly balances her work between a philosophical discussion of art and Theo's stumbling and well-intentioned attempts at crime. The philosophic hints keep the mind thinking, while Theo's activities add suspense and humor. Long-time fans of Tart will only regret that they'll likely have to wait another long decade before she publishes again.


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