Nicky Paton

Royston Cave Manager
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is always my go-to book recommendation, ‘although not if you like fast-paced narrative’ I add. That’s because The Goldfinch is not all action and suspense – in fact some of its most beautiful moments occur in stillness. Instead it is patient, intimate and rich in its description, creating wonderfully immersive imagery and beautifully formed characters. At its heart, this novel is a delicate observation of loss and loneliness as its young protagonist, Theo Decker, grieving the sudden death of his mother, attempts to navigate the world. It’s a reflective journey that takes him from New York to Las Vegas and deep into the underground art world.

I think, perhaps, my relationship with The Goldfinch is more significant because I too lost my mother relatively young and I too, despite appearances to the outside world, subsequently struggled, and continue to struggle, navigating life in the wake of such a devastating void. Donna Tartt’s novel, for me, is a brilliant and empathetic coming-of-age account of finding one’s identity and direction in the face of trauma and adversity. Just don’t watch the cold and disappointing film adaption.