The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

One of the biggest problems with starting a book on the Kindle is the “how bloody big is this thing?” question. I think a great invention would be something that changes the weight of the Kindle based on the story you are reading. However if that was possible then I’d have probably never started The Goldfinch  by Donna Tartt as it comes in at a hefty 800 pages.

Set mainly in New York it centres around a boy who loses his mother in a terrorist attack in a museum and finds himself leaving the scene with an incredible, priceless painting. As the years go on and his simultaneous guilt and love of the painting grow, the author does a really good job of not giving you a clue how the story will end. As per normal I don’t want to ruin the story by talking too much about it, but it’s a great combination of theft, guilt, coming of age, loss, redemption and some pretty intense drug taking set in contemporary New York, Las Vegas and Amsterdam. I particularly liked the intense relationship between the protagonist Theo Decker and his friend Boris, even though it was pushed to extremes at times.

Even ignoring the great story, one of my favourite parts of the book (not a plot spoiler) was the details about antique restoration, yes I know that sounds like a completely boring subject, but trust me it’s very interesting.

By the end of the book I was completely sure that the author had made up the painting and its artist, Carel Fabritius, that the story revolves around – so I was completely amazed to find out that both of them are very much real…

Carel Fabritius The Goldfinch

Anyway it’s a really top recommendation from me, let me just find a couple of my highlighted passages…

Water streamed down the windows, quicksilver heavy, sealing us into the car

Wow, “quicksilver heavy”.

And just as music is the space between notes, just as the stars are beautiful because of the space between them, just as the sun strikes raindrops at a certain angle and throws a prism of color across the sky – so the space where I exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank I hope I die in, is exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime.

Beautiful! go read it!