Sunday, 12 January 2014

Goldilocks reads: The Goldfinch

One of the many books I received for Christmas was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Most of the books I received were classics and political books, as I'm very particular with fiction. However, my mother chose this for me and made a fantastic choice. Which, is the best compliment I am can give her. Well done, Mum.

Without spoiling any major parts of the novel, the story chronicles the troubled life of Theo Decker, a young man whose mother dies in a terrorist led explosion in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The book follows his journey as he mourns his mother and struggles to deal with the incident, and his guilt over stealing a particular work of art in his rushed escape from the scene. While tackling a prominent presence of profound alienation and socially dysfunctional actions and characters, we follow him as an orphan from downtown New York to the wealth of Park Avenue, to Las Vegas, and then back again.

The Goldfinch is a novel built upon a web of exploration of darkness, drugs, love and art. I began to find myself justifying Theo Decker's actions, in the mastered art of his lonely honesty he had wooed my sympathetic side and my unashamed love for a walking disaster. Most of his relationships are entirely dysfunctional, except for his friendship with Hobie- the gentle older man who shares his love of furniture restoration with Theo. His most treasured relationship is arguably between himself and Hobie, or between himself and the painting. This work of art was an emotional crutch for him during the immediate aftermath of his mother's death, and his obsession with it is a tale of true admiration and an illustration of the relationship between humanity and art.

At one point I found myself 500 pages in, and not knowing how I got there. But I knew I couldn't leave that world, it had pulled me in like the the painting of the goldfinch had lured Theo into it's grasp. Tartt's writing is pure artistry, with each sentence delicately woven together to create a powerfully poignant narrative. Each of Tartt's carefully crafted characters has their own place in the book and their own personal form of fascination for the reader. It's dark, intriguing, but with a heart you never noticed it had until you finished it.

After finishing this earlier last week, I'm still suffering from the book hangover. Any avid reader knows that familiar feeling of being unable to shake off the world they have just visited in a book. Leaving this story behind is a particular task, and I'm sure I'm ready to do it.