In Third Novel, Donna Tartt Tackles Youth and Love in New York City

By Gabriel Gamarra, Contributor

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How far are you willing to go to save an item that was the last memory you ever had with a loved one? Are you willing to risk love, safety, friendships and happiness just to hold on to something that you only have seen a handful of times?

Donna Tartt’s third novel entitled “The Goldfinch” is a Pulitzer Prize winning work of fiction that tackles these questions head on. Tartt’s third novel after an eleven-year absence, “The Goldfinch” is her most captivating novel to date, pulling on every heartstring as you follow the rollercoaster of a young man’s life from his youth till his older years.

Tartt starts each chapter with a quote that completely captures the feeling of that chapter. After finishing the first chapter, you can go back to read the quote that it started off with and see how it connected perfectly with the overall emotion of each chapter. Tartt’s imagery pull you into the story perfectly making you see and feel what is going on in the minds of the people present at certain times.

This story revolves around the life of Theo Decker, a young boy from New York City whose life changed on a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. An accident happened as he walked through the hallways examining the art on the walls. This accident caused him to lose the only true person he felt love for at a young age. But just before, he locked eyes with a young red haired girl that would change his life after he survived the incident.

A young boy lost in New York City, he walked home in pain and stunned over what happened. In his hands was a famous painting crafted by Carel Fabritius in 1654 which portrayed a goldfinch chained to a railing that surrounds his home. Theo did not understand how he was still alive and how the painting made it out without a scratch but he knew that there was something about it that reflected his life.

Forced to struggle as a self-dependent child in the hands of new parents, he lost a connection to everything he knew before he was forced to move to Las Vegas with what was left of his father. There he met an older boy named Boris who was his only close friend. They both faced similar problems with family and those in their age group.

Theo made sure to take the painting with him and before he knew it, he would be chasing the painting itself. In his older years, his journey took him back to New York where he found that red headed girl named Pippa again. Their forbidden love makes him recall the feeling he felt after the accident. Eventually, his journey to unite with the painting leads him to Amsterdam where he must risk his life and his one childhood friend Boris’ for the only memory he has left of his lost loved one.

The 800 page masterpiece penned by Donna Tartt blurs the lines between art, love and family. The 2014 Pulitzer prize winner is one of those novels that make you fall in love with those who grace its pages.