Yeah I’m going to go ahead and say this was the longest book I’ve ever read. Yup, I’m going to state that right here. Clocking in at 771 pages (with tiny font and small margins!) this book was super long. However, this isn’t a fault that I’m drawing attention to, it’s just a statement I’m making about the book in general. Lots is going on in here, including gun fights, burglary, and love stories, so granted Goldfinch needed a lot of room to sort this all out. Plus, it’s a literary book, so what Janet Evanovich can fit into two hundred pages, Donna Tartt took considerably more room to explain (no diss to Evanovich intended by that comment, she knows what she’s doing).
Now that I’m out of the publishing biz, books come to me haphazardly, and I get my book gossip through others. A close friend told me that this book had a lot of buzz around it, so obviously that pushed me to pick it up, even though it physically hurt my wrists to hold it while reading if I was without a pillow to support it. Now that I’ve grown superhuman strength in my forearms, I also feel confident enough to stay that the daunting length of the novel is worth it. It also serves as a good excuse as to why I haven’t posted in so long-I literally had nothing else to write about, I was too busy reading this book!
The story starts off on a despairing note (the protagonist Theo losing his mother in an explosion) and things don’t get much better for the young boy as it continues (his estranged, alcoholic father insists on reinserting himself into his life), but I wouldn’t say this is a ‘sad’ novel because it follows Theo throughout the first third of his life, so you get to see his ups and downs as he experiences them. Plus, I don’t like sad books, there’s enough depressing stuff on the radio, television, and internet, so if I can avoid a downer of a book, I definitely will, but Goldfinch (despite the low points) still has an uplifting message at the end, which Tartt will go into extreme detail about, so you have that to look forward to.
Before I end off this rambling mess of a blog post, I do want to mention how much I enjoyed the character Boris-keep your eyes out for him, he doesn’t show up until a couple hundred pages in, but he is an absolute delight to read about. Some reviewer or another mentions that he lights up every page, and this is a great way to describe him because he adds so much to the plot of the book, as well as Theo’s life in general. Maybe it’s my Ukrainian roots that are showing here, but the very ‘Russian-ness’ of Boris is a great dichotomy against Theo’s annoying New York-ness, and Boris’s Slavic tendencies (quick to temper, but can’t keep a grudge) prompt some very fascinating yet believable exchanges between the two characters.