The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I was really looking forward to this book. I mean, really looking forward to it. I loved ‘The Secret History’ so I had high hopes for ‘The Goldfinch’ but I’m going to have to add this to my  Never-Finish-Never-Will List.

On the face of it, it has all things that I like:

  • It’s a typical slow-burn
  • It’s got lots of long detailed prose on the human condition and relationships
  • There’s lots of philosophical discussion
  • The running theme is the appreciation of beautiful art
  • It won the Pulitzer Prize

Basically, it couldn’t get any more pretentious; it’s my kind of book.

But my God it’s boring. I have nothing else to add. There were some long detailed paragraphs on Theodore Decker’s thoughts on how wonderful his mother is, and I always get so emotional over any parental-child relationships but the scenes couldn’t move me. There are occasional sparks of genius, reading Theo describe the people he encounters can be entertaining and resonating but it’s few and far in between.

I’ve stopped and started this book at least five times but I could never get into it. It was just so dull and drawn out. By a fifth of the way in I still don’t know the purpose of the plot. It’s like striking a match that won’t start; you get your hopes up every now and then when you see a spark but eventually you realise you’ve got a dud.

On Another Note

It seems I’m not the only one too:

  • Vanity Fair noted the backlash from the fancier literary circle and examined what can be defined as literature.
  • Oregan Live basically made the same comments.
  • The Guardian basically has the same issues that I have

My issue isn’t as snobby as James Wood’s issue; I think the “further proof of the infantilisation of our literary culture” is too snooty.



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