I first read this novel over a year ago and absolutely fell in love with it. I would actively encourage everyone to read The Goldfinch, as well as Tartt’s other two novels, which are equally as good. If you don’t fancy reading The Goldfinch but aren’t sure which novel to pick up next, have a look here for other book reviews.
Told in a retrospective first person narrative, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch tells the tale of Theo Decker, a young boy whose life crumbles before the readers’ eyes when he loses his mother in an explosion in a local art gallery.
The reader witnesses the heartbreaking dislocation of the protagonist, both physically and emotionally, when he is sent to live with his deadbeat father in Vegas. The despair and emotion Theo experiences is presented in such a raw manner that it becomes difficult not to become emotionally invested in his tragic life. The reader becomes drawn into a series of tumultuous events and must watch helplessly as they witness Theo spiral out of control as he descends into adolescence.
During the chaos and panic following the aftermath of the explosion, young Theo takes something from the gallery and the consequences of these actions haunt him throughout the rest of the novel. To Theo, the stolen artefact provides him with his sole connection to his dead mother and he develops an obsession with it that is evident throughout the novel. The reader sees Theo long for this item during the times it is not in his possession and this yearning resonates with the longing he feels to be reunited with his mother and to regain the life that he lost on that fateful day at the art gallery.
The novel follows the journey of Theo through his troubled teenage years into an equally troubled adulthood; however, it also follows the journey of the stolen artefact as it passes through various hands until Theo regains its possession. Theo becomes mixed up with a dark world of art thieves and crime in a bid to retrieve the item he stole as a child and the harrowing tale of a grieving young boy is expertly merged with the plot of an action thriller, resulting in a gripping novel. The two plots of The Goldfinch are rich in detail and wonderfully entwined to create a beautifully written, exciting and emotionally charged thriller.
The Goldfinch is full of fascinating characters that weave their way in and out Theo’s life and the constant stream of dramatic events will keep you in suspense as you become desperate to discover whether adventure or disaster will be next to befall the protagonist.
Theo’s determination to be reunited with what he sees as his only link to true happiness, despite the odds being so against him, results in an outstanding story of survival. A true masterpiece.
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