The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Theo Decker survives a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that claims the life of his mother. While fleeing the chaos he awakens to in the aftermath he rescues a painting, The Goldfinch of the title, and spends much of his life wondering what to do with the priceless artwork. For as time goes on he accepts that he hasn’t so much rescued the painting as stolen it. The book is Theo’s life after the attack, dealing (sort of) with the guilt he feels for the death of his mother, and carrying the painting with him to all the homes he comes to know.
I was hesitant to read a 751 page book about an art theft, but after it won the Pulitzer I felt I had to give it a chance. The book didn’t feel that long. There was a spot or two that were slow, but overall the book moved and kept my interest. (Especially the zinger three-quarters of the way through!) But I don’t understand what has captivated so many people. It was a good book, and the author is a talented writer, but overall it’s not staying with me the way many other lesser known books I’ve read this year have. Plus, I didn’t like the main character. I don’t have to like a main character to enjoy a book, but I have to relate to them in some way. I couldn’t. Theo was given a gift to survive this attack and he seems driven to ruin his life and the lives of those around him.
As I’m thinking more about this book I’m finding more things I enjoyed about it that I can’t write about without totally giving the ending away. Let’s just say I’m glad I read it, but it won’t be one of my top reads of the year.