BOOK REVIEW: The Goldfinch: A Deleciously Absorbig Read By Donna Tartt

THE GOLDFINCH is the intriguing story of Theo’s life experiences – from his early teens through adulthood – and how these mold the young man he grows to be. With the loss of his mother in a tragic explosion at the art museum, he is plagued all his life with feelings of abandonment. In the chaos following the explosion, he steals the priceless antique painting of the Goldfinch from the gallery as he escapes the devastation. Guilt joins abandonment and these emotions lead him to extreme self-destructive behavior and life-altering relationships with people he clings to throughout his young life.

Donna Tartt has written a compelling portrait (no pun intended) of a justifiably troubled person who seems to just miss the turn in life that will lead him to happiness and peace. She details, with authority, such arcane activities as street drugs, their preparation and usage, woodworking techniques, antique hand tools, exotic woods and their specific advantages, characteristics, including the smell of the wood shavings. The research required to acquire this knowledge is mind-blowing. One would assume that, in addition to being a talented author, she must also be a very gifted druggie woodworker.

Following her descriptive details of architecture, craft techniques, and geographical depictions of New York City’s upper Eastside, Greenwich Village, and recession devastated Las Vegas subdivisions, the author treats the reader to fully developed characters. It is so well done that the reader is moved as much by her own emotions as those of the characters experiencing them.

Tartt is unconstrained by brief passages in this 755 page tome; she gives each scene, each sentence, exactly the time and prose required to fully paint the elements she wants her reader to have. And the reader will respond with full-blown emotional reactions. I highly recommend this work as a five star entertainment that will leave the reader feeling emotionally and intellectually satisfied.

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