A review by sadaf
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

dark reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


In London, desperate for new “study abroad” friends, I made a coffee date with a Russian girl who was in one of my linguistics classes. She always had beautiful manicures, one time a Mondrian (another Dutchman), which had set us off on the topic of art history, and prompted us to pursue a friendship after.
The date was torturous, however: a never-ending debate, including a point at which she insisted that English girls were too soft, Russian women understood that catcalls were simply compliments. She told me about various horrible tales of her family, what they suffered and how they were happier for it, unlike the traumatized youth of today. It was an unpleasant ordeal that went on for two hours. At the end of it she smiled and hugged me excitedly, saying it was the most fun she’d had talking to someone in ages, that we must do it again. Thankfully, we didn’t. I remain flummoxed, though Boris was something like a cipher. 
Near the end, I feel the writing got muddled and began executing my least favorite method of “generating Meaningfulness”, which was lists, lists, lists. Enough. I get it. Life is a confusing torrent of unconnected moments… or something. I preferred her crystal clear observations with a deftly placed low-frequency lexical item. 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings