The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
(Reviewed by Alex Frey):
Theo Decker is just thirteen years old when his beloved mother is killed in a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City. On his way out of the rubble, Theo rescues The Goldfinch, a 1654 painting by Carel Fabritius and his mother’s favorite work. Theo takes the painting from the damaged museum and with him on his fourteen year journey, first staying with family friends, then with his avaricious father in Las Vegas and finally to Amsterdam; all the while the simple painting of a chained bird remains a source of anxiety and solace in the bewildering reality he is a part of. As Theo matures, he realizes who his friends and family are; he begins to understand that art can allay the harshness of life and that he cannot keep the panacea to himself; at all costs Theo and The Goldfinch must return to the world.
The Goldfinch is Donna Tartt’s third novel and winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Fiction. The Goldfinch exhibits Tartt’s mastery of prose as its twisting story leads both the characters and the reader through obsession and survival to the true lesson about the power of art. If you liked Between Shades of Gray or Great Expectations, you will enjoy The Goldfinch; just be sure you have plenty of time, at 771 pages, this book will take a while.