DONNA TARTT, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? (09/04/2013)
Donna Tartt is one of my favorite authors. It's been twenty years since she wrote her first book, THE SECRET HISTORY. Her second novel, THE LITTLE FRIEND was tougher to get into but critically acclaimed and won the Orange Prize for Fiction.
And now I'm anxiously awaiting her third novel, THE GOLDFINCH debuting October 22nd.
Here's a review:
The novel is about a young boy, Theo, who survives an explosion that takes his mother's life. He becomes obsessed with a painting that reminds him of his mother, which ends up drawing him into the art underworld.
With the same flair for suspense that made The Secret History (1992) such a masterpiece, The Goldfinch features the pulp of a typical bildungsroman—Theo's dissolution into teenage delinquency and climb back out, his passionate friendship with the very funny Boris, his obsession with Pippa (a girl he first encounters minutes before the explosion)—but the painting is the novel's secret heart.
Theo's fate hinges on the painting, and both take on depth as it steers Theo's life. Some sentences are clunky (suddenly and meanwhile abound), metaphors are repetitive (Theo's mother is compared to birds three times in 10 pages), and plot points are overly coincidental (as if inspired by TV), but there's a bewitching urgency to the narration that's impossible to resist.
Theo is magnetic, perhaps because of his well-meaning criminality. The Goldfinch is a pleasure to read; with more economy to the brushstrokes, it might have been great.
Amanda Urben, Book Agent, ICM