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Review March 2020

 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

First Published: 2013

Internet entries:

Book No.: 161

The Goldfinch

by Donna Tartt

This was an interesting choice by Gail, based on having read the book some time back, and having been impressed by its complexity, detail and narrative.

This large book (almost 900pp) was a challenging read for most club members, not so much because of the size but because of the nature of American the society and the characters within it. Whilst the painting of the goldfinch was the theme that ran throughout, it was Theodore (Theo) that gave structure to the book. His emotional state, especially with regard to his lost mother, was the backbone of the story. Other characters may have made passing appearances, and we felt should have figured more strongly in the narrative.

The quality of descriptive writing was consistently high, taking you “into the moment”, but the emotional content was at time disturbing, and hence the book is not a night-time read.

One club member felt that the author had borrowed a Dickens template but signally failed to give it the necessary happy ending. (Theo should have married Pippa!). Indeed the book did not really have an ending, it sort of fizzled out.

One club member apparently “read it by accident” which is an achievement in its own right.

Reactions to Theo as a character varied from “no sympathy whatsoever”, “infuriated with him”, to “some people’s lives are like that when there is no one around to give a little mature guidance”. Overall, Theo was convincing as a male character, which is a credit to the skill of the author, as was the depiction of conflict inside a relationship.

Overall impression: a good read.

AA Book Club score: 4.25


AA Book Club
Five stars