Thursday, 19 June 2014

Reading The Goldfinch

It has been two weeks since I finished this book and I just cannot. stop. thinking. about it. Apparently some people hate this book for being overhyped and not "high-brow literature". I have no idea who these people are and I don't think that I want to know them. This is my favourite book so far this year. (Bold claim since I just two weeks ago thought that Perks of Being a Wallflower was my favourite book so far but this is better.)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is a coming-of-age novel (it's like I'm addicted) revolving the events after Theo Decker's mother tragically dies in an attack at an art museum when he is at the age of thirteen. Now that his only port of safety is gone, Theo finds himself thrown into the hands of others, unable to control his own circumstances. A lot of the remainder of Theo's childhood is about trying to cope, first with the family that takes care of him shortly after his mother's death and then later when his father shows up and brings him to Las Vegas. Missing his mother and finding that almost nobody understands how he feels, he turns to anything that will keep him from reality. This is one aspect to the story. The second aspect is that the main character has also ended up with one of the most valuable paintings in the world, The Goldfinch. Although he never intended to steal it, he has no idea how to return it without being convicted for art theft and so he chooses to keep quiet, constantly living in fear that someone will find out his secret.

This novel is almost 800 pages long but I didn't even notice it. The story is unfolded slowly without ever getting tedious or dull but always keeping the reader interested and yearning for more. Theo is an interesting character and it seems like once he had committed one bit of mischief which caused him and his mother to be at the location of the attack in the first place, there was no turning back. It is as if he has decided to accept that his life will continue in a self-destructive spiral until it ends. I never stopped finding him fascinating, not to mention Boris who is his best friend and the enabler of much of Theo's problems. Finally, who doesn't love a book which intertwines art history in the main story? It was the icing on the cake for me.

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