A Writers Writer -Donna Tartt- The Goldfinch


“I love the tradition of Dickens, where even the most minor walk-on characters are twitching and particular and alive.”  Donna Tartt

I finished The Goldfinch (2013) at 2:30 AM. If I had paid for a MFA degree would I have learned more than reading this single novel?  I was the recipient of all Donna Tartt has ever read which informs her brilliance.  A review from #Booklist says it best. “Drenched in sensory details infused with Theo’s churning thoughts and feelings, sparked by nimble dialogue, and propelled by escalating cosmic angst and thriller action, Tartt’s trenchant, defiant, engrossing, and rocketing novel conducts a grand inquiry into the mystery and sorrow of survival, beauty, and obsession, and the promise of art.” It took eleven years to write a book that garners such a review.  (Her first two books: 1992 – The Secret History and 2002 – The Little Friend.)

In rereading my Kindle ‘highlights and notes’ to select several to share, I am moved again with awe and appreciation.  Can you blame me?

…and though the brocades were rich and the carpet was soft, still the winter light carried a chilly tone of 1943, privation and austerities, weak tea without sugar and hungry to bed. 

…he was the kind of man people liked to entrust with their sadnesses. 

…I sailed home on the bus, melting with sorrow and loveliness, a starry ache that lifted me up above the windswept city like a kite: my head in the rainclouds, my heart in the sky.



About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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1 Response to A Writers Writer -Donna Tartt- The Goldfinch

  1. Oof, thanks Stepheny , it’s great to have new moments of aha! pointed out. This book is awash with stop-you-in-your-tracks moments. And also thanks for the Dickens explanation. Because she seems so Russian to me in her sensibility I kept frowning at all the Dickensian mentions but yes, the no character too small to be given individuality makes sense

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