Here’s an excerpt from my belated review, On Wanting The Goldfinch: Donna Tartt’s Book of Cravings, in The Toronto Review of Books:
As much as the initial disaster in The Goldfinch marks it as a pointedly post-9/11 story about New York, the novel is also portrait of a culture coming to terms with the souls it’s lost to the love of wealth, its collective Jamesian marriage for money. As Welty’s ring and the painting drive Theo through streets and among airports, the novel careens through its fascination with the value of expensive things and the passion to possess and be possessed—by objects, artworks, furniture, but also every little pill that comes one’s way. It’s no mistake that in his final year of journeying Theo is taking back the things he has strewn about, trying to atone by undoing the reckless circulation of objects he’s permitted. As much as The Goldfinch mirrors a city changed by 2001, the novel is also fable of New York post-2008. Like a moral tonic for the subprime age, Tartt’s study of wanting not what you cannot have but what you should not have seems eager to prove that Theo must reign in his desires in order to thrive and be happy.
Read the rest here.