The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

This was a good book, but it had some problems. For the last few months I've been trying to catch up with my (entirely self-imposed) reviews and this one has stumped me. Well, the Virginia Woolf was, and is, more daunting, but I have the consolation that I'm going to reread 'To the Lighthouse' someday. Despite the big splash it made and how much I enjoy Tartt's previous novels, that is probably not going to be the case with 'The Goldfinch'.

My main issue was my frustration with the main character who as a child was bad enough, but understandably traumatized. How Theo got into his situation seemed entirely natural. Then he started fucking up as an adult. I can deal with an unlikable protagonist, but Tartt could not get me to sympathize with Theo at all. And Boris. Ugh. In both of her other novels, 'The Secret History' and 'The Little Friend' she worked within and combusted old forms and genre motifs to create a satisfying blend of her own. How 'The Goldfinch' resolves left me craving her brand of literary justice.

Thankfully, I've always been interested in objects as pieces of history, but its only recently that I've been studying antiques with any purpose in mind. For that reason alone I can recommend 'The Goldfinch'. I still swoon over Tartt's prose, but this book is better for its parts than as a whole.