Y’ALL. I DID IT. I FINALLY DID IT. I READ, IN IT’S ENTIRELY, DONNA TARTT’S GOLDFINCH. ALL 784 PAGES.
For the most part, Cannonball Read is a great thing for me. It’s introduced me to a network of cool people, I better remember the things I’ve read (having reviewed them), and keeps me accountable to a goal. But, the goal bit is a tricky business. With an eye on the prize of a full cannonball it can seem a bit foolhardy to tackle a loooong book. Because the 784 pages of The Goldfinch “counts” as much as 300 pages of something else. In that sense, I read Goldfinch when instead I could have read two other things and been one step closer to that goal. But I loved Tartt’s A Secret History and I’m a sucker for “Pulitzer Prize winner” stamps on a book AND it was recommended by a couple of folks whose recommendations have never led me astray so I decided to buckle up and do it and I was not disappointed.
This book is a wiiiild and slow reveal of a ride. The novel begins with the main character, an American adult, in a hotel room in a foreign country, wondering how his life would have turned out had his mother lived. Then we go back, way back, to before that fateful day when a horrible accident would turn his life upside down. This book is a complicated journey for an orphaned and traumatized boy to make his way in the world and we follow him through his whole life, every painful mistake, until we are back in that hotel room. It was a disturbing book, but compelling and detailed to the nth degree.
All that to say, the end took a lot to get through, in that it seemed she almost doubled down on the painstaking detail and I just wanted to know what was going to happen. In her sort of defense, has there ever been a 700+ page fiction book that was not criticized for length? It’s a point of argument as to whether you should ever need that many pages to make your point but Tartt’s pulitzer goes to show that at least one body of folks thinks she is pretty much beyond reproach.