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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014
Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, 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 tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Like Job or the unlucky protagonist of a Victorian novel, Theo Decker is dealt blow after blow. The unforgettable hero of Donna Tartt’s astounding new novel, The Goldfinch, is a daydreamy boy who lives in a cozy Manhattan apartment with his vivacious mother until, one day, their happy existence is blown to pieces. Tartt—winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction—rolls out the tumult of Theo’s life with dazzling prose that makes his every emotion, thought and experience achingly real. She envelops the reader in Theo’s world, rendering the people and places that slide in and out of his life with cinematic precision and sly humor. As you’re pulled deeper into the murk—and into the mystery of Theo’s inextricable link to a luminous painting—you’ll wait breathlessly to find out what happens next, clinging to the rays of kindness and light that Tartt captures so beautifully.
Donna Tartt's latest novel clocks in at an unwieldy 784 pages. The story begins with an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum that kills narrator Theo Decker's beloved mother and results in his unlikely possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch. Shootouts, gangsters, pillowcases, storage lockers, and the black market for art all play parts in the ensuing life of the painting in Theo's care. With the same flair for suspense that made The Secret History (1992) such a masterpiece, The Goldfinch features the pulp of a typical bildungsroman Theo's dissolution into teenage delinquency and climb back out, his passionate friendship with the very funny Boris, his obsession with Pippa (a girl he first encounters minutes before the explosion) but the painting is the novel's secret heart. Theo's fate hinges on the painting, and both take on depth as it steers Theo's life. Some sentences are clunky ("suddenly" and "meanwhile" abound), metaphors are repetitive (Theo's mother is compared to birds three times in 10 pages), and plot points are overly coincidental (as if inspired by TV), but there's a bewitching urgency to the narration that's impossible to resist. Theo is magnetic, perhaps because of his well-meaning criminality. The Goldfinch is a pleasure to read; with more economy to the brushstrokes, it might have been great.