The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch
Book for September 2014
Group 1
As a thirteen-year-old boy in New York City, Theodore Decker adores his energetic, beautiful mother - as do many other people in Manhattan. He thinks of his father, who had walked out on them a year earlier, as an alcoholic, abusive thief. Theo's life is turned upside down when he and his mother visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see an exhibition of Dutch masterpieces. But then a terrorist bomb kills his mother and dozens of other art-loving citizens.

Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo lives with a school friend, Andy Barbour, and his wealthy family. Theo's life with the Barbours is shattered when his deadbeat dad, Larry Decker, arrives with his new girlfriend, Xandra, and whisks him away to Las Vegas.

Theo makes a new friend, Boris, a cosmopolitan son of a Russian émigré. The two boys both have absentee parents and spend most of their afternoons drinking alcohol, feeding themselves from shoplifted store groceries, using marijuana and other illegal drugs.

Theo's father starts to become friendlier, but it later becomes apparent that his father has ulterior motives. He is in debt to a crime syndicate and begs Theo to phone his mother's lawyer in New York to get access to money she had put aside for Theo's education. The plan fails. Humiliated and desperate, Theo's father gets drunk and dies in a car crash.

Theo knows he must leave town at once, or be sent to a Nevada care home.
About the Author
Donna Tartt

is an American author of several novels. She won the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend in 2003 and the Pulitzer Prize for The Goldfinch in 2014. She was named to the TIME 100 Most Influential People in 2014. Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta, and raised in the nearby town of Grenada.

She enrolled in the University of Mississippi in 1981, and her writing caught the attention of Willie Morris while she was a freshman. Following a recommendation from Morris, Barry Hannah, then an Ole Miss Writer-in-Residence, admitted eighteen-year-old Tartt into his graduate short story course. "She was deeply literary," says Hannah. "Just a rare genius, really. A literary star." Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, where she was friends with fellow students Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, and Jonathan Lethem, and studying classics with Claude Fredericks. She dated Ellis for a while after sharing works in progress, The Secret History and Less Than Zero respectively.

Other books we've read by the same author:

The Secret History