Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart


Publisher: Little, Brown and Company


Length: 784 pages


About: Teenager involved with missing Masterpiece


Style: 1st person


Where: New York, US


When: Present day


Publisher’s synopsis:

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love--and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.



Things would have turned out better if she lived. As it was, she died when I was a kid; and though everything that’s happened to me since then is thoroughly my own fault, still when I lost sight of any landmark that might have led me someplace happier, to some more populated congenial life.




Plot and character and fine prose can take you far – but a novel this good makes you want to go even further.

Kamila Shamise, The Guardian 17th October 2013

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Not so good:

Sadly it's not enough to save this great, mystifying mess of a novel. I was intrigued to discover that Fabritius's painting really does exist – not, to be fair, that this matters a jot to the novel. But if even I, no art historian, vaguely remember that goldfinches were often icons of the messiah, then how can Tartt have Theo wonder (again and again) what the artist meant when he painted it:

Julie Myerson, The Observer, 19th October 2013

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About the author

Born December 23rd 1963 in Greenwood, but she grew up in Grenada, Mississipi. She published her first poem in the Mississippi Literary Review. While Tartt was a student at the University of Mississippi in 1981, Willie Morris, then a writer-in-residence at the university, read one of her stories and gave her a recommendation for a graduate short-story course taught by fellow writer-in-residence Barry Hannah.
















Page turner







Age guide: 12






Novels by same author:

The Secret History 1992

The Little Friend 2002







None to date








2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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