Friday, October 24, 2014

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt


5 of 5 stars *****

Once again, Donna Tartt creates an engaging story which brings life to words with her unique descriptions and common phrasings that magically transport the reader into the contemporary existence of an adolescent, Theo Decker, who experiences the death of his mother. This tragedy creates a longing for his mother that haunts him through an exquisite painting of a captive pet bird, a Goldfinch. This mysterious attraction, that lives deep in Theo, accompanies him through his schooldays, living in his best friend's household, and into adulthood that includes drugs and crimes of deceit in the art world. Theo's lifestyle gets in the way of his happiness with love and ultimately hardens his view of life as rather difficult and tedious. It's not until the end when he contemplates the masterpiece painting, the Goldfinch, that he sees, up close, the creator's brushstroke, his painstaking attention to an admirer's vision of an undercoating that gives the Goldfinch depth and fluff to its breast; but more significant to Theo is the distance required from the painting that blends the physical reality with the magical intention of the artist to captivate an onlooker into falling in love with his creation. This is the place where Theo sees a softer realm of beauty that he ascribes to the love of his life, Pippa, rather than the harsh realism of his deep secretive life that he is reluctant to share. It takes the Goldfinch to bring this revelation into Theo's consciousness.