The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014 and is Ms. Tartt’s third novel. The book begins with a terrorist bombing at a New York City art museum. Thirteen-year-old Theo survives, but unfortunately his mother perishes. Moments before the attack, Theo and his mother, an avid art enthusiast, are admiring a small, centuries old, priceless painting called The Goldfinch. Dazed, confused, injured, and with the horrible knowledge his mother is likely dead, Theo talks to a dying man, Weltie. The old man encourages him to steal the small painting of The Goldfinch. Thus begins the story of Theo, now both victim and criminal. Every aspect of his life is ruled by this one moment in time and the resulting moral dilemma he wrestles with almost daily.
While reading, we meet Theo’s alcoholic and abusive father, a nihilistic Russian named Boris (who turns out to be his lifelong best friend), Hobie, a restorer of precious antiques, and Pippa, the girl he falls hopelessly in love with at first sight.
Written with beautiful prose, an infinite amount of detail put into character development, and intricate descriptions, I found the book to be a great read. Yet, for those same reasons, I can understand how some may find the book tedious and a bit lengthy.
I did love the book, which is a coming of age story about the struggles of a damaged young man becoming an adult. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to indulge in rich words and deep meanings. I look forward to reading Donna Tartt’s earlier works.