This book was recommended to me by my good pal and fellow advertising chum Katie Harland. Amongst other delightful quirks, (like the fact the people in her local chicken shop know her by name – a girl after my own heart), I can also conclude that she has a darn good taste in books. I knew we must have a similar taste in books as Katie has already suggested at least two books I’ve already blogged about, so when she told me this one was a goodie I happily abandoned Julian Barnes’ Sense Of An Ending, (does anyone else get that book? I don’t…), and finished The Goldfinch within a week.
It seems like the author has gone through a checklist of things that classically make a great story, and has weaved them into the plot of this brilliant book:
Treasure: The theft of Carel Fabritius’ priceless painting The Goldfinch, and the maddening task of concealing it.
Love: The unrequited obsession of our young narrator Theo Decker, and a red-head he first encounters in an art gallery during his childhood.
Tragedy: It would give way to much away if I went into all the tragedy. More tragedy than you could shake a stick at. Death, drugs, violence, terrorism, trauma…It’s brutal. But equally gripping.
Friendship: The ‘best friend’ figure in this book is a funny Russian boy affably named Boris. If there’s ever a film adaptation made of this, I just know Boris is going to be played by some nice guy nobody actor who will be everyone’s favourite and go on to star in the Twilight saga or whatever takes off next. Oh and then there’s the other friend Andy who’s also very sweet, kind of the ‘Piggy-character’ of the piece.
Life: We witness the passage of time, and Theo’s ‘coming of age’ – which made me feel very attached to him by the end of a book.
This is another novel that becomes all the more poignant in the light of 9/11, but has taken this group of literature into a whole new space. I don’t even know if it was inspired by any real life events. Apparently Donna Tartt only writes a book every ten years or something, so I don’t know when she started this one. I’ve googled her. She looks like a total badass hipster, who I would love to be in 20 years.
But if I assume it emerged along with other 9/11 inspired novels, I have to say it is so creative it completely stands apart and straddles a whole group of categories. It’s one of those books that leaves you rushing through the pages, trying to get to the end and find out what happens next. It’s obvious why this was a prize winning international best seller. MUST READ.