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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt | Book Review

The Goldfinch book cover

From the first page of The Goldfinch I was enthralled and couldn't put it down. It is a novel on life, death, art, seediness and love. At ‎784 pages, it has readers divided on whether it needed a good edit or whether it is actually completely perfect.

When I love a book, I don't want it to end quickly. So for me, to have all this extra time to spend with the characters and story that you would never have in a 300 page novel felt super indulgent and I loved it!

What a bunch of amazing characters! For me, Boris and Hobie were my two absolute favourites. Both real, genuine people but so completely different. Who couldn't have a laugh at/with Boris!? And Hobie ... so caring and steadfast. Not asking too many questions but always there when you need him.

I found there to be a theme of "real or fake" and "good or bad" running through the novel, and you could slot each character in under each. Theo's Mum, Hobie and Andy we good and real - something Theo rated so highly and measured all his other relationships by.

Even though Theo despised his father as a bad person, he is one of the more real characters in the book. It is interesting to see how appreciative Boris is of Theo's Dad, having grown up with his own father and his issues. Boris thinks the world of Theo's Dad, whereas Theo sees him as essentially bad. Theo's absolute love for Boris, even though there are lots of similarities between Boris and his Dad is again very interesting.

Characters could also change and grow. Andy's mother was a true fake throughout much of the novel, however through the grief at her husband's death and broken family she emerged as someone very real and was able to put her real self on show finally (although mostly behind closed doors).

The question of real or fake was also underlying in the story of Hobie's restored furniture and whether something could still be considered real if it had been fixed, added to, or altered and by how much?

To me, Theo was a likeness to Hobie's furniture, patched back together to make something completely unique, meaningful and profound.

Although I desperately needed to finish this book so I could start getting sleep again, I stopped reading just before the end and held it over for a day or two because I didn't want to part with the story just yet ...

This is Donna Tartt's third novel and winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, published by Hachette.

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