The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little Brown) ISBN: 978-0316055437
I was expecting so much from this novel. After all, Donna Tartt only writes a novel every so often.
Where to start? There is so much wrong with this mess of a book. It is too long. It has a weak, reactive protagonist for whom I felt no empathy. Theo is pitiable and unlikeable, and worst of all, he does not change. None of the characters do. It was as if I were reading a reality show full of awful characters I would not want to meet in real life, and like reality television, nothing much happens for most of the 800 pages. A major problem is also Theo’s voice. I could hear the author trying to force a male viewpoint. It didn’t work.
The story starts off with a bang – literally. Theo’s mother is killed in an explosion in an art gallery in New York. His alcoholic father has recently abandoned them. Theo, at the time, has been suspended from school, and is already a petty criminal. He survives the explosion and somehow manages to steal a priceless painting as he exits the building. Theo’s life, and the story, goes from bad to worse and back to bad.
There are so many unnecessary characters and irrelevant situations that I would bore you senseless describing them. If you’re willing to risk reading this wad of paper to find out who they are, good luck.
I read all the way to the end, desperately hoping for Theo to display some character. I was disappointed.