Tartt’s long-awaited third novel features her trademark beautiful, resonant writing and highly com- pelling characters. Even when the plot meanders from a discernable arc in this sprawling portrait of a life, there is a finely maintained tension and a restless quality captured by her prose that thoroughly engages readers and renders the mundane dramatic. The book’s concluding pages are perhaps its most stunning, as the story builds to a crescendo of the narrator’s finely wrought observations on that balance between the extraordinary and the ordinary. The Goldfinch encapsulates the undulating sweet- and-sour spectrum of a life lived, not purposefully, but inevitably.
A horrific accident lands a masterwork of high art in the hands of 13-year-old Theo Decker, changing his life forever. Rootless after his mother’s death, Theo bounces from the wealthy, chilly home of a friend on New York City’s Upper West Side to the eerie, empty, outskirt suburbs of Las Vegas with his estranged father, and ultimately back to Manhattan, in the dusty backroom of a friend’s antiques shop. His one constant is the painting he protects and shepherds, a talisman and touchstone as he navigates life’s highs and lows. (LITTLE, BROWN, Oct., 784 pp., $30.00)