Snap Judgement by

The Goldfinch

A success, and enjoyable in its own right, but a disappointing Pulitzer

There has been a lot of hype about this book and some very polarising reviews. Comparisons have been made to Dickens – which likely refer more to the rather convoluted and dramatic storyline (Oliver Twist’s endless “mishaps” for example), and improbable rescues, than the style or language of writing. Donna Tart’s strength in fact is (as she has shown us with The Secret History) her ability to inhabit a younger voice with credibility and she does not fail us here, wielding her secret weapon – great dialogue – with pace and reality. We like Theo for all his self-absorption and watch the oncoming twists and falls that meet him on the way with mixed dread and hope. It is not without its faults – unlikely plotline convergences (what a coincidence!) and the last pages would have benefited from some heavy editing as it descends into syrupy philosophy (“We can’t escape who we are”) but it is nevertheless a book worth reading. From the first calamitous event, we are pulled along the roller-coaster story: gripping, achingly sad, action-packed, fateful, and very unputdownable.

 

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