The emotion of being in awe — of a person, thing, or space — has a direct impact on your well-being (or so I heard on a podcast). Being in awe triggers certain neurons in your brain which other emotions cannot trigger. While I was listening to the podcast, it struck me how I hadn’t been in awe of anything or anyone in a while. That is, until I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt by Donna Tartt.
The book — long, wordy, and rambling as it is — left me floating a few inches off the ground. It’s truly a great work of literary fiction, which, if you have the patience, takes you on an intimate journey through the lives of strangers and the wild, precarious worlds they live in. And that is what good fiction is about — forgetting about yourself and your mundane problems and believing in a magical world sculpted by one lonely writer. And that act of creation is truly awe-inspiring.
Coming to the story, in it’s essence, Goldfinch is a bildungsroman, a coming of age story about a young boy, Theo, who loses his mother in a freak bomb blast in an art gallery at the age of 12. The story spans from that moment till the next twenty years. The characters in the story are fascinating — a New York based antique furniture healer, a gambling-Vegas addict alcoholic dad, his waitress-drug-dealing girlfriend (Xandra with an X), the care-free alcoholic Russian-spewing kid Boris and on and on and on. The characterisation and the language used is superb.
Now there were two things which I didn’t like about the book: the first is the long, never-ending sections. I found myself skipping over a lot of the scenes that were not going anywhere. The second was the fact that the Goldfinch by Fabritius was a real world of art. Having read the book on the Kindle, I didn’t even have a book cover to go by. In my head, it was this mystical glowing figment of my imagination. When I saw a reproduction of the painting (seen above) I was disappointed. It was much plainer than I imagined.