Book Notes: Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch
The really sad thing about Tartt is that she can write. There are some very strong pages in this endless novel. She writes in a poignant and sincere way about the hopelessness of the post-bubble landscapes. She could write valuable stuff about the suffering of the economic downturn.
But there is a problem that keeps tripping Tartt up and preventing her from developing into a passable author. She is obsessed with writing in a voice of a young man who is an alcoholic and / or a drug addict and who goes on for hundreds of extremely repetitive pages, narrating how he gets drunk and high.
Tartt’s fixation on describing alcoholic stupor in interminable detail betrays some sort of a personal issue with booze and drugs that the writer unleashes onto her readers instead of onto a therapist. Readers end up paying to witness the spectacle of a traumatized writer obsessively baring her trauma in a way that is unlikely to bring her any true relief. Tartt has made a lucrative career out of her dysfunction, which tells us a lot about the readers who feed her popularity.
I’m not similarly afflicted, which is why I will not be giving this writer another chance.