This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
For every person I know who completely adored The Goldfinch – an epic tale of one boy and his stolen painting – there is another who gave up on it after a couple of hundred pages because it just didn’t hold their interest. I got a lot further than 200 pages (a little over 600!) but that was after putting it down, reading another book, returning to it and then having something of an epiphany.
Reading should not be quite this difficult. You should want to pick that book up, not dread it.
What finally made me put the book down was reading a massive revelation in the book which should have made me gasp in shock but sadly evoked no response whatsoever. At that point I should have been impressed, but there was nothing. I had completely lost interest – and there were still 200+ pages left to go!
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First off, I have no trouble with long books. It's not the length that bothers me. If they’re compelling enough I can keep going – much like long films. If the interest is there, the need to keep going, then page numbers become irrelevant. The only issue is the weight of it when you’re lugging it around on the commute! This book, however, wandered off on so many tangents it was like ten different stories got glued together and passed off as one rather muddled story full of extraneous detail.Don’t get me wrong, Donna Tartt’s writing style is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s a thing of beauty, truly sumptuous. Yet, there is so much narrative, so much explanation, so much backstory that you spend most of the time waiting for her to get to the point! When things do happen, it's hard to care because it's taken so long to get there in the first place.
I can absolutely see why this book has won so many awards. The prose, the concept and the epic scale of it are all incredibly impressive. It is, though, an exhausting read and after a while you just start thinking of all the things you could be doing instead.
Overall rating: 6/10