When Theo Decker survives the terrorist attack on an art museum that kills his mother, he takes with him The Goldfinch, a famous and invaluable painting. His life then unfolds in segments, profoundly impacted by the strong characters that he’s around, such as his con-man drunken father, emotionally stunted Andy, trustworthy Hobie, frantic Boris and wonderful Pippa. Unable to escape his past despite forays into drugs and crime, the painting becomes a secret that seems necessary to his survival. But this too catapults him into betrayal, violence and the European criminal underworld. He writes his memoirs as a way to try to piece it all together.
This was a strange book! As perhaps the summary suggests, there are so many strands, segments and themes to it – and it’s so long – that it’s hard to form a cohesive thought about this book. Plus of course, it won a Pulitzer Prize. So it must be good. Right?