Story time: Donna Tartt’s work of art The Goldfinch

Smart bird

Smart bird

Goodreads book review:

Ah, Theo Decker you passive, unlikeable drug addict. I like you. Quite a work of art.

I loved this book. Yes, a vague statement but a really surprising one for me. Had I read a synopsis I may have shied away, but I was so convinced by the characters – flawed, at times detestable, evasive – that it felt authentic and real. The framing narrative of the goldfinch I found gave the rambling, frustratingly passive Theo a throne from which to watch his life pass him by and offered the reader a sense of ethereal beauty, of peace and golden comfort. So many times I was thinking ‘BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PAINTING?!’ and Theo’s meanderings were frustratingly slow to come to a head.

I didn’t enjoy where Boris re-entered the story quite so much, it felt a little unreal and unnecessary for a character like Theo who seemed destined to live an empty life devoid of genuine relationships whirling in a drug fugue ungrateful to those who tried to help him – ok definitely not ideal but comprehensible given his experiences and his inability to help himself. Theo living in his head and not confiding in Hobie, Pippa, Kitsey, Andy, the Social Workers, counsellors etc felt understandable – I liked that the plotline didn’t follow the ‘boy broken by disaster, opens up and completely heals’ trajectory. Theo was not ostensibly likeable, yet I liked him. Tartt crafted him expertly and her way with words was mesmerising.

Oh, and I wish Hobie was my grandad.


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