I read a lot but I have never been so affected or so consumed by a book as I have been with Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’. Actually, I didn’t read it, I listened to it, narrated superbly by David Pittu – so superbly in fact that I didn’t do my usual trick of listening to the first few chapters of an Audible (Amazon’s own) download, becoming impatient and then buying the paperback. David Pittu enhanced the whole thirty hours (yep, thirty hours – which translates to 771 pages) and gave real life to what were already amazing characters.
But the real genius here is Donna Tartt. The dustcover says ‘The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate’. Yes, I know I should write something as well – after all it is my blog! – but I can’t better that.
The wonderful, wonderful characters are still very much with me, and will be for some time. My next dog will be called Boris (read the book), Hoby’s always on hand for sage advice, and Theo? Well, Theo is a mate. So many lines are still in my head. Here’s just one: ‘You just can’t know what it’s like to be in love with the wrong person’.
All modern life is here in this fabulous tome and the reader is taken deep inside the cultures that form these modern lives, and the things that drive them.
I’ve seen and heard a few interviews with Donna Tartt and she’s a strikingly composed lady – and I would pity any agent who might be stupid enough to call Donna and say, ‘Come on Donna, how long are you going to be writing this book’. Take your time Donna and make us wait another ten years for the next one – it’ll be worth the wait.
The Goldfinch has been the best book I have ever read: truly, life enhancing.