Wow. I loved it. I love, love, loved it! I can’t believe how much I loved it.
It’s about the South of a few decades ago, and a century ago — race and class, the most beautiful and deeply ugly — she explores it all, unflinchingly. About growing up (or not). About stories, especially children’s. About sadness, and decay, and trying to make a life around these brutal facts. It’s also a postmodern detective story extraordinaire.
Her main character works. Remember what I said about The Secret History — how Richard Papen felt like Donna Tartt? Harriet does too. A tiny, furious Donna Tartt, and I believed every second of it. I found all of the characters well-drawn (and wonderful, and scary, and hysterical, and absurd, and…). How brilliant was the character of Gum? O-M-G.
This is one suspenseful book. Despite having tons of work-work and school-work I devoured these 640 pages in a week. It’s also (darkly) funny — if you’ve lived close to grandmothers and aunts, you will find Edie and her sisters irresistible. It will also make you catch your laugh mid-utterance as waves of horror come over you. Tartt is extravagant with her language, situations, and ideas. Maybe she goes too far for some people, but I though it was original and pitch-perfect.
Kudos, Donna Tartt! You wrote a damn fine book, and I CAN NOT WAIT TO READ THE GOLDFINCH!
P.S. – Donna, I think you are beautiful!