by Donna Tartt, 2013
This book has been out for several years but I was late in reading it. The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014 and is one of the most astounding books I’ve read in a very long time. Theo is a 13-year-old New Yorker visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his mother. They temporarily split up at the end of their visit—she runs into the gift shop and he flirts with a girl he spots that interests him. In this brief interlude, a terrorist bomb goes off in the museum that kills his mother; he miraculously survives the attack. A dying older man gestures to the centuries-old Dutch master’s painting of “The Goldfinch” and tells Theo to take it with him as he’s escaping the chaos of the museum, so it doesn’t get damaged from smoke or the overhead sprinklers. On impulse, Theo does just that.
This one simple act comes to define the rest of Theo’s life in ways he never imagines, nor can the reader. Even though the book is almost 800 pages long, the journey Theo takes, along with the astonishing twist at the end, made it worth every late night I spent reading. Please don’t pass this one up.
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