I just finished a novel titled The Goldfinch, written by Donna Tartt (imagine being a girl and growing up with that last name...especially in Greenwood, Mississippi, as she did.) She went to Bennington College and Bern thinks Mimi knew her there. Bennington is so small you know everyone there, so maybe Mimi did, I haven't asked her when we've talked lately.
Anyway, as I said to Bern about The Goldfinch, "Jesus, people from Mississippi can write!"
There is, among other things, something Faulknerian about her style--so dense and so complicated and so ironic. But what is truly remarkable is that the first person narrator is male. I'm always amazed when writers can write in the voice of the other gender and get it so right.....And Donna does.
It is a pain-filled read--all 770 pages or so of it--but except for a conceit in the last chapter I don't see why she did, it is compelling, riveting, always surprising, full of information about art, wood working, philosophy, pain and wonder.
I'll take back the "I think" in the title of this blog. I would say, if you're relatively stable, have a good self-image, not addicted to any controlled substances and prepared to be astonished: you should read this book.
It is a challenge, I assure you. But the journey is worth the effort.
Something I always judge a book by is this: when I'm 60 pages from the end, do I want to finish it or not? I read 700 pages in a day and a half--it took me 2 and a half days to read to the end because I didn't want it to be over. I didn't want to lose the characters from my life. I wanted them to stay with me for years and years.
So, using that as a guide, I think everyone should read this confusing, paradoxical, painful, finally joyful (in an ironic way) novel.
Happy sails to you.....
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