My last week’s blitz-telegram from Paris was hugely influenced by The Goldfinch. This striking novel has actually been at the background of everything I did and thought during the last weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day it’s going to be called classics and included into the mandatory school reading list. Charles Dickens meets J.D. Salinger in Manhattan… to talk about the meaning of life and why good people suffer and moral dilemmas and other eternal questions adopted from 19th century decadent Russian literature.
Theo, a 12 year old, a bit too delicate and a bit too naïve private school pupil from New York, loses his Mom during the terrorist bomb explosion in one of New York Modern Art Museums. He escapes the museum, in shock, stealing an old painting on his way out for no obvious reason. He spends some time with his Mom’s friends living in one of the Park Avenue posh apartment and becomes friends with an antique dealer from the Village, who also lost a family in the museum. Then Theo moves to Las Vegas, where his Dad is gambling and Dad’s girlfriend is a drug dealer and Theo and his newfound friend Boris are shoplifting, drinking, doing drags and trying to make sense of the world around them for a couple of years.
New York again, college, fake antiques, good, bad… The whole story is revolving around people who go to museums and care about arts and it make them different. They trust the wrong people, their instincts are misleading, they worry too much, they complicate their relationships and thought they mean well and have a very high sense of justice, they do lot of harm. As if this ability to understand arts shifts their value system and makes them blind to some parts of the real life.
Strangely enough – this story does not read too dark or depressing. Every time something bad happens, you’d hope this too shall pass. Precisely because you know that Theo is talented and his intentions are good and you’d also hope that the painting would find it’s way back to the museum. The best part of the book (at least to me) was how well Donna Tart describes the process of maturing and growing into something new, processing facts, interpreting other people’s reactions, trying to make sense of them or adjusting to new reality.
Spring has finally arrived yesterday. Maybe it did arrive sooner, but I was just too busy to pay attention. I always have this peculiar feeling of awakening in March, a pressing need to start fresh. It’s not only “my skin tone is dull and I should not be using this foundation” or “I should have thrown away this sweater last year” or “this carpet urgently needs professional cleaning”. It’s like a little inventory of all your plans and projects and how do they look under the bright spring light.