Ah, The Goldfinch, perhaps the most anticipated book of 2013. What can i say about it? It topped just about everyone’s Best Of lists, and yet I’m not sure it would have made mine if I had actually read it in 2013. That is not to say that i didn’t love parts of it. In fact, I read into the wee hours of the night on more than one occasion. But as a whole, I found it a little to long, and I felt that at times (you know when I’m talking about) Donna Tartt was writing both out of her comfort zone and genre.
To a certain extent I feel a little sorry for Tartt. Having a debut novel like The Secret History is a hard act to follow. For me it was the perfect book read at the perfect time, and it seems that almost everybody feels this way. I’ll be perfectly honest and say that i was disappointed in her second book, The Little Friend. From what i can remember of it, it was a little spooky for my liking.
The Goldfinch is a sprawling novel. I had problems getting into it at first, but once I did I was hooked. Tartt’s writing was precise and detailed. The psychological effects of what happened to our young protagonists were superbly wrought. The path his life took was inevitable, and yet I kept hoping he’d escape from his family legacy.
Once I got into the book (which took about 150 pages) I was hooked, right up until the end, in Amsterdam, where the novel once again fell a little flat for me. And this is the part when I say that Tartt was writing outside of her comfort zone, and perhaps outside of my reading zone. It was too long, too detailed. I just wanted things resolved.
Who would like this book? It doesn’t really matter what I say here, because The Goldfinch may well be the book of the year. If you are a person who reads and likes to be in the know, you are going to read it. It is a chunkster of a book, so if you like a long read, you won’t be disappointed. Although not all of the novel was set in New York, it did put me in a very New York frame of mind. Love that Manhattan lifestyle. Overall, I’d rate it a 4 out of 5, but alas, it was not the perfect novel that The Secret History was, so i can’t give it a 5.