Having read several pages of The Goldfinch, you may get the impression it will become one of your favorite books. Chances are that this impression will not deceive you. What is it that keeps you reading? What is it that makes you consider reading the novel once again?

People and feelings

The narration is emotionally charged and full of attractive characters. Together with Theo Decker, you experience ups and downs in his love to Pippa. Experience friendship with Boris from Ukraine (who is almost more true-to-life than Theo himself). Mixed (and genuine) feelings to his deadbeat father Larry Decker and love to his mother, who seems more like a dream of ideal mother than a real woman. At least, you may wonder how on earth she managed to avoid hurting his feelings at least once in a while – something even beloved mothers do.

What about Theo himself? Comparing Theo to Harriet (from Tartt’s novel My Little Friend), you get the impression that Harriet is a real person, while Theo is a realistic fictional hero.

His character seems true-to-life and consistent, so you can easily see the world through his eyes and feel people through his heart. Following Theo through his life, “being” Theo is not an unpleasant experience. Even the fact that he is bullied at school is just another confirmation that he is not an ordinary person (in a good way). Being criticized and underestimated is just another side of standing out of the crowd.

It may make you sad to watch Theo and Boris indulging in alcohol and drugs, to watch them both moving towards the rock bottom (without really hitting it, though). You have already become attached to them and you wish there were another way for them. A very different book it would be, though.

The world

After his mother’s death Theo finds himself in a Park Avenue home, belonging to his friend’s affluent family. Then he moves to Las Vegas, which is shown from the side rarely seen by most visitors. New York again, but now it is the heart of an antiquarian shop (the place where Theo seems to belong to). Every time Tartt takes us to a place that not everyone can enter in real life. The descriptions may seem prolix, but not in a bad way. That is just how Theo perceives the world: he is in never-ending search for beauty and absorbs it from tiniest details.

The final part of the novel supplies your mental “fridge” with quality food for thought. However, at times you may get a vague impression that some of these ideas do not exactly correspond to Theo’s life and personality.

From my point of view, the novel is an outstanding work, done with passion and craft. You might perceive someone’s life breathing through the text, feel the author moulding the narrative out of his own experience of being in this world. If you share this feeling, you will be grateful that the book has almost 800 pages. Who would mind reading several hundreds more?

Author's Bio: 

Emily is a life-long literature fan. She has a blog dedicated to poetry. Here she publishes literary analysis of poems she likes, from rather popular verses, like Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, to the less known ones.