I’ve seen a million, zillion summaries and reviews and whatnot of this book in blogland … so I’ll refrain from doing that. I’ll just gush (and won’t give anything away — I know lots of you are reading or want to read this book; I do not want to take one scrap of delight away from you).
*Boris. Boris! Boris is absolutely, positively one of my Unforgettable Characters Of All Time, Ever, Amen. I’m more like Theo, but god, Boris. That man is a lion. A criminal, alcoholic, drug-addicted lion, but a lion nonetheless. A lion, especially because of.
*Hobie. Oh my heart. Not just Hobie but the entire world of the workshop in the West Village. The descriptions of the craft of furniture making and repair, the scents of beeswax and turpentine, the changelings. The food he whips up and the objets throughout the house. His heart. Even his head in the sand and in the world and not of it qualities.
*Holy fresh astonishing extended metaphor: morphine lollipop. D*mn, Donna Tartt!
*Those sentences. I need to sit with the long ones and study her colon and semi-colon use. I’m in awe.
*Society and money and class, oh my! Her perceptions are so laser beam accurate.
*Not to mention literature, music, and art. I am literally going to go through each page and list these references so that I have an amazing reading, listening, and viewing resource. Sponge = me.
*Romanticism. Not as in lovey dovey, but as in truth and beauty, awe and terror. Imagination. How refreshing I find this after SO much minimalism and realism and all of our other 21st century -isms. See also, those sentences.
*The last two pages are so close to my personal philosophy that I actually shook a bit after reading them. And cried. Of course I cried.
Tartt appeared at the Free Library of Philadelphia for a reading and some question-fielding. They were kind enough to make the audio available, and it’s very worth listening to. I must admit, though, that I am SO TIRED of people asking her why she takes so long to write her books (who cares!)! As an alternative, I have prepared some questions that I would love to ask Donna Tartt in my fantasy-land la la la world:
I love the way your write about animals and their relationships to your characters. Popchik! Do you currently share your life with any animal companions? Stories?
You seem to have an interesting relationship with education/academia. You clearly prize learning, but The Goldfinch is populated with extrememly smart but indifferent students, and learning by doing is held above traditional schooling. How do you feel about education? Higher education? Do you think that you can learn to write in an MFA program?
Talk to me about your own most meaningful, beautiful objects. What do they evoke for you?
What are you listening to right now? What is your favorite painting currently?
I want to ask you how you know so much about alternate states of consciousness, but I won’t 😉
image: Gorgeous, gorgeous portrait of Donna Tartt and books by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.