It’s not often that I recommend a book so unilaterally. Frankly, I don’t recommend most books I enjoy because they’re usually too far in the realm of classic on the one end or fantasy on the other.
Not true with The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Whether you’re man or woman, adventure lover or philosopher, page skimmer or word obsessor, it’s well worth your time.
In truth, what kept me reading was the mystery of the story. But what made it unforgettable? What so compelled me to share it? The philosophical monologue that tied it all together at the end.
Perhaps Donna won’t speak to you as she did to me, but on the chance that she will, I feel I must share. For when I read it, tears streaming down my face in the wee hours of the morning, I couldn’t help by think: This simple, eloquent observation could help a lot of people (me included).
On the chance that you’re one of those people, from the deepest corners of my word-loving heart, ENJOY.
* Don’t worry. It won’t ruin the mystery of the story or the ending.
Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me that we can speak to each other across time. And I feel I have something very serious and urgent to say to you, my non-existent reader, and I feel I should say it as urgently as if I were standing in the room with you. That life–whatever else it is–is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open… [for] it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch. For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time–so too has love. Insofar as it is immortal (and it is) I have a small, bright, immutable part in that immortality. It exists; and it keeps on existing. And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought them when they were lost, and tried to preserve them and save them while passing them along literally from hand to hand, singing out brilliantly from the wreck of time to the next generation of lovers, and the next.” ~Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch