Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt inspires some real adoration in her fans.  I was 100% willing to jump on the bandwagon after reading some amazing reviews of The Secret History. Tana French cites Tartt as an inspiration and I'm crazy about her.  So, I read The Secret History this summer and to tell the truth, wasn't quite sure what all the fuss was about.   I have relatively fond memories of The Little Friend, which I read back in 2007 and wrote a really worthless review about.

So, anyway, still eager to fall head-over-heels, I read The Goldfinch.  Here's my review in Newcity Lit.  I thought parts were outstanding and over-all it was too long, to greatly simplify a not-so-simple book.  I love that she uses this actual painting as a jumping off point - creating a narrative around a (fictional) history of that work.  I suspect, although I honestly have no idea, that there was some really higher-level Marxism shit going on in the theory of this book but, ha! ha! I am not a Marxist expert!  Particularly near the end, she becomes extremely theoretical about spending time with art work and the capacity of an experience like that to change a person, but more than that, it seemed quite related to the ownership or possession or consumption of things of beauty that led certain people (wealthy ones!) to afford that experience.  Anyway, I would be much obliged if anyone with expertise in that area would like to weigh in.  Or I suppose I could break down and go read the wikipedia page on Marxism.  Ugh.

Also of note was epigraph she included that I had never read before:
We have art in order not to die from the truth.-Nietzsche
Whoa.   I need to think about that for about the next ten years 'til Tartt's next book comes out.
The Goldfinch (Het Putterje), 1654
Mauritshuis, The Hague

Anyway, the whole thing reminds me of this lovely article I read in Harvard Magazine about patience, and art, and looking.  By coincidence, it also features a small animal on a chain.
John Singleton Copley’s A Boy with a Flying Squirrel, 1765

No comments: