This is a wonderfully well written book but has a slightly unsatisfactory narrative flow.
The Goldfinch tells the story of Theo Decker who is involved in a horrific terrorist attack at the age of 13 in his home city of New York. The aftermath of the catastrophe leave him struggling through his teenage years and into adulthood living in far from ideal circumstances. This tale basically follows his journey (for 864 whole pages – it’s a chunky tome!)
The novel is at its best I believe when recounting the daily struggles of Theo’s difficult teenage years. If the novel had ended at this stage, about three quarters of the way through, I would have given in 5 out of 5 and been left with a pleasing yearning for more. But Tartt seems determined to ‘finish’ the story, nothing wrong with that in itself, but the way she ups the action and skips forward in time towards the end of the novel felt rather clunky and inelegant. The first part of the novel is also rather slow at times, the middle section in excellent, so overall the pace of the novel felt a little off.
Having finished with my criticisms I will go on to say that the writing style is wonderful, truly mesmerising at times. It really takes you to another person’s world and immerses you there.
On the back of the book there’s a quote from the Independent “A gripping page-turner”, I don’t agree with this, it didn’t grip me it more gently and subtlety tugged me in after a modest start then held me firmly for a while before it’s grasp began to weaken and I steadily slipped from its hold. But a very good enjoyable read.