THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt
First off, it is huge, 771 pages. Secondly it took 11 years to write. Thirdly it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. A very big book in so many ways. It is also very very good - engrossing, page turning, full of surprises and twists, exquisitely drawn and very human characters, a terrific story, and after so many pages, an ending that really is quite satisfactory. Author Stephen King said about it "a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind." Little more to be said really.
If you can apply yourself for that number of tightly typed pages, and allow yourself to be lost in the tale, this really is a fabulous read. 13 year old Theo Decker happens to be in the museum with his mother when a terrorist bomb goes off, killing his mother. In his panic, fright, and confusion he comes across a seriously injured an elderly man who gives him a ring and indicates to a picture on the wall, which Theo pulls off the wall and flees. This chance encounter and acquisitions dictate Theo's life for the duration of the story.
I really loved this novel, although it is a shade too long perhaps....there is no doubt it is very wordy, and there are places in the story when I wished it would just hurry up and get on with it, but the author's mastery of the language and how she simply carries you along with the train of thought sort of takes over until before you know it, things are happening again. Not having been a 13 year old boy, I don't know how their brain patterns work, but here is a child desperately trying to survive with no parents, no love, no direction, growing into a man probaby suffering from Post Traumatic Stress, with the only constant in his life being a small priceless painting some 350 years old. I couldn't put this down, and found myself drawn to it, having to sneak-read another page or two in the long compelling saga.