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Book Club Party: The Goldfinch

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Welcome back book-clubbers! The holidays were so busy over here that no one had a chance to meet for book club, so we’re a little delayed. We’re hoping you’ll forgive us when you find out we’re having a book club-themed Monday on the blog! We’ll fill you in on our wrap-up now, then check back later today to find out what we’re reading this January.

We hope you’ve had a chance to read our last pick, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. It officially holds the title of “longest book we’ve read so far,” so our members were very happy to have the extra time to finish it off! I think I can safely say that everyone absolutely adored this pick. As always, we don’t want to spoil anything, so take a peek after the jump for our thoughts on this intricately written novel. 

  • We all agreed that it was very Dickensian in plot and characterization—but, as Copy Chief Myles McDonnell noted, “Unlike in Dickens, here the hero is affected by all the horrible things happening to him through his childhood.” McDonnell added that he “was impressed with how [Tartt] made it Dickensian all the way through, even dropping in open references in the text (Hobie comparing Boris to the Artful Dodger, the Pip/Pippa thing from Great Expectations, among others)–and yet it never feels slavish to Dickens, or like an imitation. It’s always its own book, just with those Dickensian overtones throughout.”
  • Theo’s relationships with those around him were fascinating to read. He created intense bonds while still being such an introspective kid, and Tartt managed to mature those relationships for Theo while still letting him fail at almost everything else.
  • The story divides itself into a several geographic locations and, while we might be partial, we found the New York-centric ones to be much more developed and fast-paced. All the same, it was impressive that Tartt managed to make us need to turn every single one of those 784 pages.
  • We were lucky enough that the actual painting Carel Fabritius’ Goldfinch, that Theo steals and spends the entire book fretting about, was on exhibit in New York while we were reading. It was such a privilege to go see the piece that sparked such an obsession in the novel. It’s still here, at the Frick Museum, through January 19th, if you happen to be nearby.

Did you get a chance to pick up a copy? Let us know what you thought in the comments below and check back later to find out some exciting news about what we’re reading this January.

Paulie Dibner is the assistant managing editor of Martha Stewart Living. She has perfected her oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie, but is on the hunt for a puff-pastry recipe to knock her socks off. Follow her on Instagram @matinauxsaules

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