On My Nightstand: The Goldfinch


I was an art history major in college, so any story that takes place in a museum and discusses art in any way, I'm into it. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, is a drizzly story about a boy who visits The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC with his mother, an art historian of some sort (I don't remember exactly, her occupation). Her life's obsession was with a particular work from one of the Dutch Masters; A petite oil painting of a goldfinch by Carel Fabritius.

This obsession with The Goldfinch painting brings the boy and his mother back to the museum one morning, on a day that 13-year old Theo Decker had been suspended from school. When the two become separated in the museum, tragedy strikes and the two are separated forever. A badly injured stranger, near Theo during the blast, urges him to take The Goldfinch painting, saying that it would be destroyed or lost in the clean up. Stunned, Theo puts the small painting in his backpack and woks his way out of the museum after the stranger dies, and in a daze finds his way home to wait for his mother, but who never makes it out of the museum.

The rest of the book follows this young boy and the priceless work of art--that he has now stolen--through the next ten, or so, years of his life. From living situations and decisions both good and bad, his destiny is intertwined with that painting.

Well written, suspenseful, intriguing. I'll definitely read it again one day.