The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I finally slogged my way through the book, and admit that I must have skimmed the last several hundred pages. It just got to be too much, and the philosophizing at the end, even to the point of a “dear reader” note, just got me down. Was I the reader that Tartt thought needed to be Borised back into the land of the living? Had I let the line of beauty slip away as I wallowed in averageness? I no longer cared, I just wanted to stop reading the book, and I thought maybe there was another odd twist (Pippa finds Theo’s diary and this is her edited version?) at the very end. No, there wasn’t, it just kept going on and on.  Upon reflection I appreciated Tartt’s skill and it is fun for a couple hundred pages to be flattered (as you read this novel you too become part of the New York elite, and who would not want to be part of that crowd, and spend a lot of time worrying about beauty and dress).  But the more I read the more a sour taste infected the novel, and it increasingly became, for me, self-indulgent, bloated, pedantic, elitist, verbose, affected, endless….  Give me Alan Garner and Elechi Amadi and Beppe Fenoglio I kept thinking.  Of course, they are not good for long airplane rides or rainy weekends, and The Goldfinch is fine for those occasions…. Tom Wolfe, at the end of the day.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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