OK… gotta say this. There is one person, and his name starts with "M" and he always criticizes me when he sees me walking through the office on my way to the lunchroom with a new book under my arm, and he says something along the lines of "Oh! Another five-star book?" -- implying that I am an always-positive reviewer of what I read.
Admittedly, I rarely hate a book.
But I attribute this to my GREAT SELECTION OF AUTHORS…..!! -- you know?
Like, for instance -- Donna Tartt.
I do not even have words to adequately describe how much I love her work.
Her The Secret History, vying for Anna Karenina as my fave fiction of all time!
I may even be in love WITH her.
And her latest book, The Goldfinch had me captivated from page 1 to 771. Superb.
The Goldfinch follows [via first-person narration] the life-journey of young Theo Dekker… a 13-year old New Yorker who survives a bomb blast in an art museum. As he recovers amid the wreckage, a still-living old-timer speaks to him about a certain painting and seems to advise Theo that the right thing to do would be to take the painting… to preserve it, if he survives. Theo takes it, and leaves the smouldering ruins of the art gallery. This painting, and his purloined ownership of it, [of a tethered goldfinch], will follow him the days of his life!
A panoply of other sort of surrogate owners of the painting are at work, behind the scenes -- unbeknownst to Theo. The uninitiated reader is, like Theo, thrown against the seedy dealings of the stolen-art underworld -- in a word, Theo is in way over his head, involved now in something he had not bargained for, in that decision to take the painting.
This book is every bit as intriguing and inter-woven as her first book, The Secret History, and lovers of that novel will have a difficult time deciding which is better, this one, or that one.
The Goldfinch has clinched Donna Tartt for me as my favorite author in two categories:
1) Authors who make me believe every word of every sentence.
2) Authors I wish were more prolific.