Customer Review

104 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to rate highly enough - Donna Tartt's masterwork, 23 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
I am one of the many people who have been waiting for years for Donna Tartt to bring out a novel equal to her first - The Secret History. Her Second Novel, The Little Friend, did nothing for me although I ploughed through it waiting for the same literary buzz that The Secret History gave me. Now at last, Donna Tartt has met my expectations by producing this fantastic, nearly 800 page novel, The Goldfinch.

I was fortunate enough to see a review copy of the book and while I was initially daunted by the scale of the book (and not exactly attracted by the blurb on the cover), I started to read it and was immediately drawn in and captivated. There is something about good writing which makes is just as satisfying as a good meal. I found a sort of nourishment going on in my head as I read through Tartt's elegant prose. It's not just the elegance however, it's the sheer pulsating interest of the book - this is the ultimate "good read" sought after by book-lovers the world over. Even the first chapter has an extremely dramatic event at it's core, and straightaway you find yourself wondering "where can this go to next"?

There is a sort of Dickensian feel to this book (not that it's in any way archaic in subject of style) for like Dickens, Tartt can delve into huge amount of detail without being boring. Although the book has an epic scale, it can also seem microscopic in the way the author recounts small episodes. A tour round an art gallery makes you feel that you are there yourself, and nobody reading this book will be able to resist seeking out the painting of the Goldfinch on the website of The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in order to ponder the predicament of this tiny bird, chained to its perch.

At the centre of the book is the life of young Theo Decker, a young boy who finds himself orphaned (what a picture of grief Tartt portrays in the first part of the novel!) but then adopted into a wealthy family in Greenwich Village where the course of his life follows unusual roads. Theo is led first into a level of petty criminality which later develops into something far more serious. Along the way, Theo is inducted into the mysteries of the antiques trade and the arts of renovation, all beautifully described by the author). Later, his disreputable father drags him off to Las Vegas, which turns out to be a far more alarming existence in the depths of "Sin City".

There is so much in this book - few people will not be fascinated by his Greyhound Bus trip back to New York, or much later on, by the serious criminality which yields huge financial returns as Theo gets embroiled in a dangerous world of gangsterism in Amsterdam. This is only a fraction of the events contained in this book however, and I wouldn't even try to mention more for fear of spoiling it.

There are so many reviews of this much-awaited book that it's easy to be put off reading it. I would urge you to put aside the views of others and dive into this lengthy but totally absorbing world. I think that like myself, despite it's great length you will be wanting to spin it out to prevent it from ending too soon. A masterly work of fiction well worth waiting for.
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