review written by Sue Major for the bookshow
Aged 13years, Theo Decker son of a loving mother and feckless , absent father amazingly survives a terrorist bomb at a local museum and art gallery. The bomb kills his mother ….a fact he doesn't at first recognise....and he talks to an injured elderly man about a painting of a captive goldfinch, which he subsequently takes from the rubble. Theo has no idea what this will get him into, but the reader has suspicions that it will not be good!
He is taken in by the family of a friend, and he is muddled and bewildered by schoolmates who reject his monosyllabic strange behaviour....post-traumatic stress, I think. He is tormented by memories of his mother and clings to the small alluring painting of the goldfinch that most reminds him of her, and her last moments with him. He moves through temporary home after home meeting amazing characters along the way, getting involved with the criminal underworld and all the time concealing the painting. He meets Boris , a Ukrainian, who attends his high school, and falls easily into his world of drug-taking, theft and excess. .His father appears on the scene and takes him in, and then there's Pippa the girl of his dreams, who he meets and parts from throughout the story. And there's Hobie to whom he returns again and again.
This novel is a big read. It is full of surprises, strands and great characters, and it takes a time to get into and enjoy. But my goodness it's worth it. It's a very ambitious book that my review can't do justice to....it's a great book and Theo's twists and turns through his teenage life are agony and ecstasy to read. It is sad and wistful and joyous all at the same time. Donna Tartt took years to produce this her third novel..but it's worth every moment .