The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
ISBN: 0316055441 Global Overview for this book
1 journaler for this copy...
In Tehillim (Psalms as it is know in English) 119 verse 37 we say, "Avert my eyes from seeing futility, through your ways preserve me."
This book just stares the abyss in the heart, it stares at the futility and refuses to look away. That makes for pretty bleak reading. For example, from pages 592 - 594, the paragraphs that start with,
"But depression wasn't the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil....."
and ending with these words,
"But in strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten top to bottom. Putting your time in at the office; dutifully spawning your two point five; smiling politely at your retirement party; then chewing on your bedsheet and choking on your canned peaches at the nursing home. It was better never to have been born."
Funny, but extremely bleak, right? Truth, but not, depending on what you make of it. One does not need to look, it probably won't help.
She also tackles a question at the end which is noteworthy,
"Because isn't it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture------?......How do we know what is right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: "Be yourself." "Follow your heart."
Only here 's what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted---? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?....If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away?"
In Judaism we are told to follow our brain, the seat of the intellect, and NOT to follow the heart, the seat of passions. And for good reason, right? Self-immolation and all that? This concept is gone into in the Tanya.
As you can see by the parts I have quoted, Donna Tartt is an incredible writer, muscular and brilliant writing. She tackles life here using the characters of Theo Decker, his best friend Boris, his beloved Pippa, his protector and teacher Hobie, his other family the Barbours, and his parents in their love and their fallibility.
Truly an amazing book and I recommend it if you can hold strong and not let it knock you down. It almost certainly won't let you down.
WILD RELEASE NOTES: