I just finished reading what I believe is the novel of the year — “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt.
Tartt has been widely praised for her writing since she came on the literary scene back in 1992 when “The Secret History” was published. I read it, liked it and forgot it but I’ll never forget “The Goldfinch.” This book — nominally about a young boy’s life and his fascination with one particular painting — is so well-written that I found myself highlighting sentence after sentence until I just stopped because the entire book is that good.
This is one novel where everything came together for Tartt — characters, dialogue, plot and, most of all, ideas. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of literary novels because many of them are all about the writing and not so much about the plot. This book has the writing and plot and is a rare literary page-turner full of characters you care about. I dare say that Boris, friend of the main character Theo Decker, nearly steals the story. He is full of life with a dark side best enjoyed from afar; he is deliciously entertaining.
Reading this, I was most reminded of Holden Caulfield from that other watershed novel but the friendship between Theo and Boris also brings to mind “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” That said, the last chapter of the book is reminiscent of “The Great Gatsby.”
I think you get the idea — I loved this book and I have to laugh when Amazon suggests “books similar to ‘The Goldfinch.'” They don’t exist.