Friday, 14 November 2014
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The story starts in New York City while 13 year old Theo is visiting a museum with his mother. An accident takes the life of his mother and in the confusion that follows, Theo takes The Goldfinch, a painting by artist Carel Fabritius from the museum. The reader then follows Theo for the next decades while he attempts to resolve his angst over what has happened in the past.
A coming of age novel for a boy without a suitable/stable adult influence. Even before the accident, Theo had set a pattern of not learning from the bad decisions he made. This doesn't change regardless of the many second chances he is given.
Two characters helped to redeem this book for me. Theo meets Boris about a year after the accident and together they get into all sorts of risky situations. Boris is the bad boy type that as a parent I don't really want my child to hang out with, but as a literary character, I can't wait to read about his next exploit. Shortly after the incident that killed his mother, Theo meets James (Hobie) Hobart, a elderly furniture restorer, who later becomes his guardian and mentor. This is a man who you want to know and would trust as part of your family. He is a stabilising factor in Theo's life and he keeps the story grounded.
I listened to the Hachette Audio book version, 32 hours and 24 minutes and read by David Pittu. He did a good job of the many characters and their different ethnicities. Hobie and Boris became real in my mind while listening to them talk.
Thanks to The Frick Collection for use of the image of "The Goldfinch".
Thanks to Hachette Audio for use of the cover image.