Yikes! I wrote this a long time ago and just now realized I forgot to finish it and get it on my blog. Excuse – my mom's birthday was fast approaching - it would be my first one without her since she passed away. I needed a really good book to take my mind off of things and so my daughter-in-law gave me Goldfinch. She was pretty sure I would like it and she was so right. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It helped me through a difficult week.
The cover is so intriguing. It appears to be a package wrapped in white butcher paper with a tear showing just a bit of a picture of a bird. I have read enough articles by authors that are unhappy with cover art which apparently they have so little control over, but Tartt has to be happy with this one, it so much represents the story.
The writing was excellent and the construction of the chapters were so artistically put together that I cannot say enough about how wonderful this book is. Theo lives in an apartment in NYC with his mom and they have a very loving, if dependent relationship. One day while waiting for an appointment at his school, they go to see an exhibit of Dutch masterpieces at the Met. His mother is excited to show Theo the real painting that was her favorite as a child. Theo gets his eye on a pretty girl who is with an older man and when his mother wants to go to the gift shop they separate. Theo is following the girl trying to flirt with her when a bomb goes off in the building. When Theo awakens he is in a pile of rubble where he sees the old man and tries to help him. The man gives him a ring with instructions of where to take it and points. Theo sees the Goldfinch picture and stuffs it in his backpack. Theo somehow finds his way out of the crumbling building without notice and goes home. He and his mother have an agreement that if they are ever separated they are to meet at home. Days go by, she does not return.
From there Theo and the Goldfinch embark on several paths; first to a friends family where he lives fairly happily for a time, he even finds time to return the ring and meet the old man's partner, Hobie and finds out the girl survived, then his deadbeat dad shows up and takes him to Las Vegas into his life of gambling and crime, finally Theo makes his way back to Manhattan and to Hobie's antique shop and the girl. All through the book the priceless painting is with Theo. When he realizes he may be in big trouble because the FBI is tracking down all the lost art, and he may be found out it is nail-biting reading to see if he will get caught with it.
I found all of the characters entrancing like Welty Blackwell the girl's caretaker who dies in the bombing, his partner Hobie who takes care of the girl and learns to love Theo teaching him about antique restoration and repair, even Boris, the Russian boy who returns as an adult as a criminal thug to get Theo in a lot of trouble. I would read it again so I am hoping one of my book group picks it for a future read. There really is a famous Goldfinch painting too, which was fun to look up and read about.