Photo: The Goldfinch Book Cover
If all the hype surrounding the Walthamstow Art Trail has left you craving an insight into the world of fine art, then Donna Tartt’s third novel, The Goldfinch will send you on a roller-coaster journey through the highs and lows of the art world, revealing a dark side that we cannot begin to imagine.
It is impossible to take a train journey or look at posts on Instagram without seeing someone devouring Donna Tartt’s third book. The cover, with the image of torn paper revealing a small, intricately painted goldfinch does nothing to expose the dramatic tale of grief, loss and self discovery that lies between the 784 pages of this book.
A word of advice for anyone planning to read The Goldfinch, try to know as little about it as possible and let the story unfold page by page as you lose yourself in the mastery of Donna Tartt’s storytelling. That being said, there is so much detail and hidden meaning trapped up in this exhilarating story that it is almost impossible to remember everything, even if you have already read the book once.
The story begins when the protagonist, Theo Decker, is 15 in New York city. It is here that, in a tragic accident, Theo loses his mother and his whole life’s trajectory is altered forever. From this moment onwards, Theo’s life becomes intertwined with the small Dutch painting, The Goldfinch, painted by Carel Fabritius and it is this element of the story that takes both Theo Decker and the reader on a journey of human discovery.
Part thriller, part Bildundsroman, The Goldfinch not only spans decades in the life of the troubled protagonist, it also spans continents turning what looks like a doorstop of a book, into a fast, pacey read full of memorable, often tear jerking moments.
Theo Decker is a complex, deeply troubled and emotional character. Battling the loss of his mother and the stress of moving between different places, all the while suffering the delights of puberty, Tartt unwittingly creates a character that everyone can relate to regardless of age or background. It is easy to believe that the whole book is centred around the heart wrenching loss of a parent and a home town, however this is just not the case. Whilst it forms the backbone on the story, Tartt blends these dark and desolate moments with sensitive, heart warming scenes of childhood friendship and, later in the story, companionship.
Donna Tartt leaves you hanging on her every word and carries the story from start to end and beyond. She ties up the loose ends by posing some deep philosophical questions which tantalize the reader and leave them craving more. Donna Tartt’s version of The Goldfinch may not be a work on art but it is definitely a carefully crafted work of fiction which deserves the hype it has been receiving.
If this sounds like the perfect read for your commute, tweet us your thoughts @WstowWeekender
Featured Image: Grace Molan