#6 is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
You’ve heard of the Goldfinch. It won a prize. Everyone was talking about it last year. Googling says it’s the Pulitzer Prize, which I always thought was for journalism, probably because fictional journalists all aspired to it.
You may have noticed that this is the biggest gap between books so far. That’s not just because The Goldfinch is long (it is – 881 pages) but also because I did not read it quickly. Why didn’t I read it quickly? Because I didn’t ever feel that I wanted to read my book rather than doing something else.
Unlike some other “books that everyone was talking about”, I didn’t find this gripping. I slogged through it, not really caring what happened to the protagonist or his bloody painting. I don’t mind a protagonist who drifts through the world letting things happen to them (I love the Robin Hobb Farseer books, even though all Fitz ever wants to do is settle down and live an ordinary life with his teenage sweetheart). But Fitz is surrounded by compelling characters and situations. I felt that Theo was not.
I have no fear in admitting this. I am the only one of my friends to have enjoyed Wolf Hall. I figured out what was going on when a chapter opened with unmarked dialogue and two men called Thomas were plotting together, because I wanted to read more. It wasn’t even because I “wanted to know what happened” – everyone knows what happens there (spoiler: heads are cut off). I don’t need to assert my literary book-reading credentials (and yes I know my last review was chick lit). This book was just not for me. And if it’s not for you, don’t let people judge you for it. Even if it did win a prize.