The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is not a new book, as it was published a few years ago, but I wanted to write about it because it was the book that got away from me. I bought it a few years ago and read about half of it that summer. It’s a great read but it’s one that deserved taking the time to read and limiting distractions. Someone asked me if it was a “slow read” and it’s not that, it’s just that it needed, for me, more focus as the story goes on for some time.

Reading on the dock doesn’t allow for much focus, as there are often lots of people around and other fun distractions. It was taking me a while to get through it and there were other books I wanted to read so I decided to take a break. I started reading through my list and time went by. The Goldfinch lived on my bedside table for months until I tidied the stack back onto my bookshelf where it’s lived since.

I heard somewhere on the internet that they are turning the story into a movie and while I don’t know when it will come out, I decided it was time to read it in full. And do it right which meant starting from the beginning and reading all the way through. And though it took some time, it was worth it as it is a great story complete with interesting characters, unexpected happenings, art, thrilling moments and suspense that carries through the entire book. I am often excited when books I love are turned into movies but this is one that I’m really excited about because the story is so rich that my only worry about it is that my favourite parts might not make the cut!

The fictional story of The Goldfinch is told by Theo Decker, who is 13 at the start of the story. The Goldfinch is an actual painting by Carel Fabritius which is owned by the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands (visit the link below to see the painting) but the author takes great liberty with the painting’s history as it is the painting itself that plays a very large part of Theo’s life. He loses his mother in an accident that he survives and it is this accident that changes his life forever. Theo tells the story of what happens to him after the accident, where he goes, the people he meets and how those things lead him to the life he lives as an adult. I don’t want to reveal too much more as I don’t want to spoil it. I will note this about the book – if I had read a bit further on that first read, I would have encountered the thing that really hooked me this time and I read until page 481 on my first go around.

I’m glad that I decided to revisit it and I recommend it if you haven’t had the chance to read it. And if you did, I’d love to know what you thought about it.

K

https://www.mauritshuis.nl/en/explore/the-collection/artworks/the-goldfinch-605/

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