Many moons ago I read Secret History by Tartt. And I said maybe someday I’ll read another one of her’s. Well here we are, finished with Goldfinch and left with complex feelings. Let’s untangle.
The Goldfinch is nearly 800 pages all about the life of Theo Decker. On a cold and rainy day, a young Theo and his mother are killing time until they have a parent teacher meeting. Theo’s been suspended from school. So they decide to visit the Met, there’s an exhibit that his mother has been wanting to show him.
Unfortunately, home grown terrorists set off multiple bombs and kill many people. Theo makes it out alive, his mother does not.
And that single minute, guides the rest of Theo’s wild and extraordinary life.
A life that includes reuniting with an estranged father, moving across the country, discovering drugs and alcohol and friendship. He makes a connection with someone from the blast, grows up, falls in love, gets in a heap of trouble, gets sucked into the underground art world, and shoots a man.
If The Secret History was a Greek tragedy, then Goldfinch is an Odyssey.
Goldfinch is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel so I’m sure none of this gushing comes as a surprise. And maybe it’s because I liked Goldfinch SO much better than Secret History, but I can’t stop thinking about how impressed I was with Goldfinch.
It is sweeping in language, tragic and epic in content, and stunning in conclusion.
I particularly liked the section of Theo’s life in Nevada. The oppressive heat, wide open empty skies, the literal trap of suburbia juxtaposed with the glamour of the Vegas strip. He and his one friend go down a wild drunk and drug induced rabbit hole, especially considering how young they are, but it was still so fascinating.
It definitely wasn’t perfect. The middle was too long. There were a lot of gaps that could have been filled in, plot wise. It did seem like there were a lot of #omg #richpeopleproblems going on which weren’t very compelling. The school/Kitty romance section of the book could have used some of that Vegas magic. The last few pages were like, what tha.
But the characters were complex and even though it was kinda like watching a train wreck, I wouldn’t stop reading about them. And there was one twist in particular that Tartt pulled off so sneakily, I have to say I was surprised. And y’all know it takes something pretty sneaky for me to be surprised.
Ps I’m rewatching the Medici show on Netflix because I’m the world’s biggest nerd. Also I’m going to Lollapalooza in like four days and I can’t wait to go! Nothing like a 4 hour plane ride to get some reading done!