Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review-The Goldfinch





Many years ago I read Donna Tartt's The Little Friend.  It was a fascinating book, so I was happy to see she'd published another book:  The Goldfinch.  It has been on the best seller list for a while now, but I didn't have to wait very long for my name to come up on the holds list.  At 771 pages it took me all three weeks to read it, but I enjoyed it very much.
The basic story is about Theo Decker, who was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his mother when a bomb went off, changing his life dramatically.  While waiting to be rescued he comforts a dying man who gives him a ring to deliver and tells him to take a painting.  His mother is killed, so he is left a defacto orphan, as his father had left the family months before, and, once found, is pretty useless as a parent.  The ring leads him to Hobie, the only stable person in his life.  The painting turns out to be a famous painting, The Goldfinch, which was first assumed to have been destroyed in the bombing, but eventually authorities believe it has been stolen.  Having the painting both exhilerates and frightens Theo, and eventually leads him into the art underworld.
The book is also about art and beauty and how they can sustain or destroy.
I liked the book because it was so full of description.  I always felt like I was right in the midst of New York or Las Vegas or Amsterdam, always in Theo's head, feeling what he was feeling.  It is the sort of book you want to talk about with someone while you are reading it.

The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch
By Tartt, Donna
2013-10 - Little Brown and Company
9780316055437 Check Our Catalog

"The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art" …More


Other books by the same author.
The Secret History
The Secret History
By Tartt, Donna
2004-04 - Vintage Books
9781400031702 Check Our Catalog

Truly deserving of the accolade a modern classic, Donna Tartt's novel is a remarkable achievement--both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.
…More


The Little Friend
The Little Friend
By Tartt, Donna
2003-10 - Vintage Books
9781400031696 Check Our Catalog

Bestselling author Donna Tartt returns with a grandly ambitious and utterly riveting novel of childhood, innocence and evil.
The setting is Alexandria, Mississippi, where one Mother's Day a little boy named Robin Cleve Dufresnes was found hanging from a tree in his parents' yard. Twelve years later Robin's murder is still unsolved and his family remains devastated. So it is that Robin's sister Harriet--unnervingly bright, insufferably determined, and unduly influenced by the fiction of Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson--sets out to unmask his killer. Aided only by her worshipful friend Hely, Harriet crosses her town's rigid lines of race and caste and burrows deep into her family's history of loss. Filled with hairpin turns of plot and "a bustling, ridiculous humanity worthy of Dickens" ("The New York Times Book Review), The Little Friend is a work of myriad enchantments by a writer of prodigious talent.
…More


Complimentary Reads
The Art Forger
The Art Forger
By Shapiro, Barbara
Author Shapiro, B. A.
2012-10 - Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
9781616201326 Check Our Catalog BookPage Notable Title

In 1990, 13 works of art worth today more than $500 million were stolen from a museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there's more to this crime than meets the eye. …More


The Swan Thieves
The Swan Thieves
By Kostova, Elizabeth
2010-11 - Back Bay Books
9780316065795 Check Our Catalog

Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love, to create a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope. …More


The English Assassin
The English Assassin
By Silva, Daniel
2002-03 - Putnam Adult
9780399148514 Check Our Catalog

Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon ("The Kill Artist") probes a murder in which he is implicated in the ingenious new espionage thriller by the bestselling author of "The Unlikely Spy." …More


The Cat's Table
The Cat's Table
By Ondaatje, Michael
2011-10 - Knopf Publishing Group
9780307700117 Check Our Catalog BookPage Notable Title

From Michael Ondaatje: a stunning new novel--by turns poignant and electrifying--about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a sea voyage. …More


The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft
The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft
By Boser, Ulrich
2010-03 - Harper
9780061451843 Check Our Catalog

One museum, two thieves, and the Boston underworld--this account tells the true story behind the lost Gardner masterpieces and the art detectives who swore to get them back. b&w illustrations throughout. color photo insert. …More


Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft
Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft
By Houpt, Simon
Foreword by Radcliffe, Julian
2006-10 - Sterling Publishing (NY)
9781402728297 Check Our Catalog

Houpt offers an intriguing tour through the underworld of art theft, where the stakes are high and passions run strong. Not only is this volume beautifully written and lavishly illustrated, it tells a story as fascinating as any crime novel. …More


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