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Thursday, October 31, 2013

"The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt~Incomparable!


The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel.

Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity.

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.


Published by:  Little, Brown & Co.
Pages:  784
Genre:  Fiction
Author:  Donna Tartt
Website:  http://donnatartt.com


Donna Tartt is a novelist, essayist and critic. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's and The Oxford American. She is the author of the novels The Secret History (1992) and The Little Friend (2002). She lives in New York.


Donna Tartt excels at turning places of ordinary privilege into places tinged by anxiety and death. In her first novel, The Secret History, a small liberal arts college in New England becomes the playground for a dangerous, elite clique of scholars; in her next novel, The Little Friend, Mother’s Day in a small Mississippi town serves as the backdrop for the discovery of a nine-year-old boy’s hanging.

Though she has written several short stories and essays for magazines such as Harper’s and the Oxford American, little has been seen of Tartt since the publicity blitz that accompanied The Secret History’s publication in 1992. The book became a bestseller, and critics were reservedly enthusiastic.
Tartt had taken on a lot in The Secret History. It was partly a thriller, partly a critique of academe, and was densely packed with literary references from both classical Greek and contemporary literature. Some thought Tartt had bitten off more than she could chew, but she still earned praise for her sheer thematic ambition and her ability to create atmosphere and a driving pace. Ultimately, the book was enough to establish the Mississippi writer as a talent worth watching, and to inspire a handful of devotional web sites that dutifully enumerated her few-and-far-between publications. The Tartt short stories that have since appeared in magazines show a glimpse of the talent that wowed professors at University of Mississippi – a Christmas pageant goes criminally awry, a former child star goes on what he considers a doomed visit to a hospitalized child – and her essays further reveal her skewed perspective. Finally, in 2002 and a decade after the debut that made her a sensation, Tartt published The Little Friend. The premise, a 12-year-old girl’s effort to avenge the murder of her older brother, shows that Tartt has not shied away from her exploration of the darknesses that lie underneath seemingly harmless facades.

Good To Know

Tartt's classmates at Bennington College included the writers Bret Easton Ellis and Jill Eisenstadt. It was Ellis who introduced Tartt to his agent, Amanda "Binky" Urban; and it was Urban who started a bidding war for The Secret History that scored Tartt a reported $450,000 advance.

Southern writer Willie Morris was a mentor for Tartt at University of Mississippi, where she spent her freshman year. Morris, who had read some stories of Tartt’s, introduced himself and told her, “I think you’re a genius.” He got her enrolled in a graduate writing seminar, and later encouraged her to transfer to Bennington. Drawing on their college days, when Tartt would hold alcoholic "teas" in her dorm room, Ellis called his classmate "the only person I know who could drink me under the table" in a 1992 Vanity Fair article. Perhaps Tartt's stamina had something to do with her early "medicine" for the frequent illnesses caused by tonsils that were overdue for removal. Presiding as her nurse, Tartt's great-grandfather gave her regular doses of whiskey and cough syrup containing codeine. "Between the fever and the whiskey and the codeine," wrote Tartt in a Harper's essay, "I spent nearly two years of my childhood submerged in a pretty powerfully altered state of consciousness." Signed first editions of The Secret History now run around $100.
Film rights to The Secret History were sold to director Alan Pakula; but Pakula died in 1998, and the project languished until Gwyneth Paltrow expressed interest. The film is now reportedly in production at Miramax under the actress, with Paltrow's brother Jake set to direct.
Tartt on the delay between books, to the BBC: "I can't write quickly. If I could write a book a year and maintain the same quality I'd be happy. I'd love to write a book a year but I don't think I'd have any fans.”

Donna Tartt Interviewed:      Fascinating!!!

Any book of Donna Tartt's is like a miracle of reading.  She is the closest thing to reading a Dickens sort of novel today with its density of characters and storyline, mysteries and details of the most minute and miracles of writing.  To read one of her books is to experience a travel that's like no other. Reading "The Goldfinch" is like that.  It's her best effort thus far, I think.  It's simply the most amazing.  And, that doesn't mean I don't think you should read her other two books!
I found myself jumping up several times in glee and forcing my husband just to listen to small descriptions of the otherwise mundane in this novel.  She writes so beautifully that the union suit of a miner hanging on a bathroom shower curtain becomes iconic and gorgeous!  It actually is so real, it lives and breathes!!  Amazing stuff...so you can imagine how the rest of her story comes to life.  The repair and care of antique furniture becomes so precious and such an act of love, it reaches your soul.
Tartt's characters are to love, hate, to sympathize with, to disparage, to want to reach out for.  They are pitiful, disgusting, harmful, harmless and worthy of your most tender feelings.  She runs the gamut.  You become fully engaged...it's impossible not to.  They are so alive.
This is a story about relationships of all kinds: parenting, friendship, love.  There's fear and selfishness and other emotions from basic relationships.  It's a story of redemption and finding ones place in the world.  It's an exploration of the world from many sides of life.
I will admit there is so much to take in in this novel that I couldn't just sit down and read it fast like some books.  I had to take it in parcels.  I wanted to savor the words and the journey of its characters, particularly the primary one, Theo.   I've always felt that way about Tartt's books.  They are the kind you don't want to finish quickly because when you do, they'll be all gone!  I hate to turn the last page.
I would welcome you on this journey of a special read.  It's unusual.  It's one that will charm you and touch your heart.  It will cause you to stop and smile, laugh, cry out in surprise, feel hurt and even offended for the characters.  I'd be very surprised if you don't love it as much as I do.
Donna Tartt is a genius author of our times.  Not to read her is like not reading Joyce Carol Oates.
5+ stars                         Deborah/TheBookishDame




So glad to hear Tartt's new book is another winner! I hope to read it sometime this winter.

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