Oct 2, 2014

Unexpected

On Sunday I got a recommendation from a dear friend to read The Goldfinch, published last year, written by American author, Donna Tartt.  

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the book is described in the New York Times Book Review by Stephen King, "as a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind....Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction."

The book is 771 pages long, I am on page 506 and loving every page, every paragraph, every sentence. I have a tendency to read very fast and I started reading this book fast.  And almost immediately on page 6 or 7, I knew this was going to be a different kind of read. I had to slow way down so I could experience the joy of this author's incredible gift and craft as a writer. If there was a museum for beautifully written books, for masterpieces, this book would certainly be part of the permanent collection. 

I don't know much about Donna Tartt. I found a Youtube interview that I will watch when I finish the book.  She is from Mississippi and I think in her early 40's. 



If you enjoy reading because you like compelling, interesting stories, this is your book. If you like to read because you enjoy language, you enjoy the cadence and ballet of words on the printed page, this is your book. The perspective and details of the world as described by this author are tiny gifts that open up, surprise and delight on each page. 

I am a huge fan of lengthy sentences and she writes amazingly well crafted, detailed, long sentences.  You definitely see the world from a perspective of a profound story teller, a certainly a poet. She is a highly skilled and gifted curator of images, ideas, feelings, emotions. As a reader you are emotionally engaged ! 

The pleasure of reading this book reminds me of other reading experiences  I've never forgotten over the years.  At 16 when I first read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, or in my early twenties when I read Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, or a few years ago when I read The Painter of Battles, by Arturo Perez Reverte.  

This book is about many things. Art, good, evil, fate, fortune, kindness, death, drugs, mental illness, friendship, love, Mothers, Fathers, New York, Las Vegas, Amsterdam. This book treats death in many different ways. The story is compelling, "page turning" compelling.  As I've read more and more I've considered who would play what parts if the book is adapted into a major motion picture. 

The experience of reading a wonderful book, like getting to know someone very quickly and making a connection for life. I already know I want to read this book again. And certainly I will look for and read the other two books Donna Tartt has published. 

I've had to put the book down and stop reading because I don't want the story to end.  I don't want the surprises of her language to end, how she describes a hotel room, or a smile or water splashing on the streets of New York. Her characters are real, well developed. She delicately shares clues of what lies ahead; yet you are continually surprised at how intricately the story is woven. 

And having time to read a wonderful book, that even makes the experience much better. Yesterday I read in the morning. Today I waited until the afternoon.  

I will read again tonight, I am anxious to know how the story ends. 


The Goldfinch Painting @ The Frick Museum in NYC