02 October, 2015

The Goldfinch

BY Donna Tartt
Book Information1/1/0/US/LB/2013/?  •  242x165x42  • 1,089  • Pulitzer'14  •  NBCCA'13(F)

This is Donna Tartt's Pulitzer prize winner. The book is a bildungsroman that, I thought, plays out F Scott Fitzgerald's famous quote that "Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are that of defeat" and then some in modern-day rendition to remarkable splendour. Whilst Theo the protagonist is commonly labelled as Dickensian, he constantly reminded me of Jude Fawley in Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure": both pursuing higher Platonic forms - Theo in aesthetics and Jude in scholarship - despite the bad hands that fate dealt and therefore cheated on them, and the vicissitudes and vagaries that almost seemed designed to defeat their spirits.

Theo was the luckier of the two, for he managed some of form redemption towards the end, and that's what I think the last 100 odd pages were about: a reminder that, as Fitzgerald proposed, "the redeeming things are not happiness or pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle." Theo struggled and then found redemption. The sense of Jude's ending is more melancholic - he did die in desolation - but it's an ending that, I thought, was more viscerally expressed and felt by readers, for Hardy premised the plot on credible, if ordinary, day to day institutions like marriage and religion. The Goldfinch, in this regard, reads like an adult version of Harry Potter that, although stripped of callow and magical episodes, peppered itself with incredulous, far-fetching sub-plots and characters. I don't know if this is a new Pynchon-inspired postmodernism literary device to highlight the real from the paranoia, but I do know that I want to commit to, and then be touched by this book that, in every other chapter, tells me not to through its subliminal frivolousness. Is this real, or merely a night of fun and frivolity, soon to be forgotten?


This is the first edition first printing with the first state dust jacket that is unclipped, reflecting the correct price of $30.00. The book is bound in white clothed board black lettering, and has no top stain. The copyright page should state "First Edition: October 2013" with full line number.

This book is not particularly scarce and VG copies can be purchased from eBay or Abebooks from $60 onwards. This is a VG+ copy in a VG+ dust jacket with some minor rubbing and a NF book that is tight and clean but suffers from minor stains on the front board and some shelf wear to boards. There are signed first editions, in slipcase, from Powell Book's Indiespensable that sells for $250 onwards.






 











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