Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Goldfinch~ Teaser Tuesday

Hosted by MizB at should be reading.

Here's how to play:

*Grab your current read
*Open to a  page
*Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*Please no spoilers!
*Share the title and author.

Today's pick happens to be the newest Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. A friend just loaned me the book and then emailed to say Donna Tartt had won. I'm only a little way in but already her writing has me enthralled. In this quote, the character (a 13-year old New Yorker) describes his mother (P.7):

"Her death the dividing mark: Before and After. And though it's a bleak thing to admit all these years later, still I've never met anyone who made me feel loved the way she did. Everything came alive in her company; she cast a charmed theatrical light about her so that to see anything through her eyes was to see it in brighter colors than ordinary--I remember a few weeks before she died, eating a late supper with her in an Italian restaurant down in the Village, and how she grasped my sleeve at the sudden, almost painful loveliness of a birthday cake with lit candles being carried in procession from the kitchen, faint circle of light wavering in across the dark ceiling and then the cake set down to blaze amidst the family, beatifying an old lady's face, smiles all around, waiters stepping away with their hands behind their backs---just an ordinary birthday dinner you might see anywhere in an inexpensive downtown restaurant, and I'm sure I wouldn't even remember it had she not died so soon after, but I thought about it again and again after her death and indeed I'll probably think about it all my life: that candlelit circle, a tableau vivant of the daily, commonplace happiness that was lost when I lost her. 

She was beautiful, too. That's almost secondary; but still, she was...And yet she was wholly herself: a rarity. I cannot recall ever seeing another person who really resembled her. She had black hair, fair skin that freckled in summer, china-blue eyes with a lot of light in them; and in the slant of her cheekbones there was such an eccentric mixture of the tribal and the Celtic Twilight that sometimes people guessed she was Icelandic. In fact, she was half Irish, half Cherokee, from a town in Kansas near the Oklahoma border; and she liked to make me laugh by calling herself an Okie even though she was as glossy and nervy and stylish as a racehorse. That exotic character unfortunately comes out a little too stark and unforgiving in photographs---her freckles covered with makeup, her hair pulled back in a ponytail at the nape of her neck like some nobleman in The Tale of Genji --and what doesn't come across at all is her warmth, her merry, unpredictable quality, which is what I loved about her most. It's clear from the stillness she emanates in pictures, how much she mistrusted the camera; she gives off a watchful, tigerish air of steeling herself against attack. But in life she wasn't like that. She moved with the thrilling quickness, gestures sudden and light, always perched on the edge of her chair like some long elegant marsh-bird about to startle and fly away. I loved the sandalwood perfume she wore, rough and unexpected, and I loved the rustle of her starched shirt when she swooped down to kiss me on the forehead. And her laugh was enough to make you want to kick over what you were doing and follow her down the street. Wherever she went, men looked at her out of the corner of their eyes, and sometimes they used to look at her in a way that bothered me a little. 

Her death was my fault." 

Whew! If that doesn't get you...

Stephen King calls it "a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade." 
And in a Huffington Post video interview, Tartt states, "The journey that I want to take the reader on always is the journey that I loved most as a child: just this galloping, gleeful, you-don't-know-what's-going-to-happen-next."  

That is enough to make me want to drop everything and be still. 
If any of you have read it, let me know your thoughts! 

For the Huffington Post interview and video, click HERE.


  1. The Goldfinch sits on the table beside me though I haven't cracked the book open yet. I just have so many spring things to do. It is tantalizing though.

  2. I liked the book very much. It had some truly inspired writing. It is a schitzy book, though: memoir, action thriller and art history combined with beautiful prose. It needed weeding.

  3. You have now whetted my curiosity dearest Kirsten, and I need to go and find this book! HAPPY DAY! Anita

  4. Loved the book but it could do with judicious editing. Our book club agreed that there were many times when she could have said "three days passed and still..." I agree with Catherine above who said it needed weeding. Her use of language, lovely. The last 25 or 30 pages made it worthwhile. I wish I'd read them halfway through the book. I admire it -- but yes, a good editor or a focus group would have helped, I think.

  5. You are the third friend that has recommended this to me. I have getting impatient as I am number 52 on the hold list at my library.


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