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The Goldfinch (英語) ペーパーバック – 2014/6/5
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014 Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph - a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.
A glorious novel that pulls together all her remarkable storytelling talents into a rapturous, symphonic whole and reminds the reader of the immersive, stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading -- Michiko Kakutani New York Times The Goldfinch is a triumph ... Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction -- Stephen King New York Times An astonishing achievement ... if anyone has lost their love of storytelling, The Goldfinch will most certainly return it to them. The last few pages of the novel take all the serious, big, complicated ideas beneath the surface and hold them up to the light Guardian A modern epic and an old-fashioned pilgrimage...Dickens with guns, Dostoevsky with pills, Tolstoy with antiques. And if it doesn't gain Tartt entry to the mostly boys' club that is The Great American Novel, to drink with life-members John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth et al, then we should close down the joint and open up another for the Great Global Novel - for that is what this is -- Alex O'Connell The Times商品の説明をすべて表示する
ネタバレをしないほうがいい小説なので筋に詳しく触れないが、読んでいるうちに連想したのは、Jay McInerneyのBright Lights, Big City やStory of My Life 、Tom WolfeのThe Bonfire of the Vanities だ。文章はTarttのほうが洗練されているが、読みやすさならMcInerneyやWolfeのほうが優れている。
物語は主人公がアムステルダムのホテルに缶詰状態になってしばらく、「やることがないとつい、彼女のことを思い出してしまう」と、自分の母を思い出すシーンから始まる。NYに住む13才のTheoは美しい母と二人暮らし。父親は1年前に突然家をでていき、音信不通に。この日は、学校での問題行動のために母親とともに学校に呼び出されたのだが、その途中、雨に降られて、「雨宿りと時間つぶし」にと、美術館に入る。絵画をこよなく愛する母親は、「この絵が見たかったのよ」とある小さな絵画の前で足を止める。それはCarel FabritiusによるGoldfinchだった。Theoは絵に魅入られつつも、同じ絵を眺めていたある少女に目を奪われる。彼女と目が合い、声をかけたいという衝動に駆られつつも、きっかけがつかめないまま、部屋から部屋へと進み、最後に売店へ。母親が「時間がまだち...続きを読む ›
千ページ余りのこの長編は、The Tale of Genji源氏物語やhaiku俳句まで登場し、航空券の内容や電話帳の貸倉庫の転載まである。
Amazon.com で最も参考になったカスタマーレビュー (beta)
The answer with THE GOLDFINCH is "Yes!" and "Sorta!"
To me, the book is divided into sections or novellas--the explosion, living with the wealthy family, moving to Vegas, etc.
The brilliant opening section immediately kept me engaged--I think the explosion and Theo's experience and recovery is some of the best writing I've read in years.
The family he moves in with may remind you of THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS or Salinger's Glass family. They are funny, a bit tragic and sort of odd. The father especially--something about his behavior seemed a bit "off" as did his wild dialogue; it didn't seem at all "real" in a novel that's very grounded in reality. (It's revealed later why he behaves this way.)
The next--and for me, strongest novella--takes place in Las Vegas where we "live" with Theo's father and girlfriend. The writing is vivid, the characters and plot really move along and it's all terrific.
And then, for me, THE GOLDFINCH seems to stall a bit and slightly loses its way. This painting that Theo carries with him seems to be forgotten about and then every 100 pages or so is mentioned again (not that we care.)
There's a novella about dealing in art (collection and deception) and our hero takes a downward turn, but I found myself losing interest and by page 600 was growing impatient for it to end...or for the plot to kick in again as it did in the first few sections.
The great thing about this book is that you can set it aside for a few days and pick it up again and not be "lost"--the writing and characters are that strong. The "plot" on the other hand seems to grow thinner and less important as you head down the last 200 plus pages as "big issues" are thoughtfully woven in.
I'm sure this will receive many 4 and 5 star ratings, but I'm giving it a very good solid 3 since, unfortunately, it seemed to run out of gas toward the end. But those first 600 pages -- great, great stuff!
Tartt deserves credit for daring greatly in this book. It's hard to center a long novel on a fairly unlikeable character, and even harder when that character is also the narrator. In Theo Decker I felt she was trying to get at the ways a severe psychic injury plays out over a lifetime, and for the first half of the book I was fascinated by Theo even when I didn't like him. And Tartt does lay the groundwork carefully for his later misdeeds, particularly in Theo's unwanted resemblance to his father. But once Theo becomes an adult (in years if not in maturity), he makes so many stupid decisions, and is so apathetic about his life generally, that it got increasingly difficult for me to care what happened to him. It's also hard to reconcile how Theo can act as he does while having the insights he articulates. I understand that this is part of what Tartt is trying to explore (why people don't do what they know, at some level, they should do), but I don't think it quite comes off here. Theo's character felt too inconsistent to sustain the whole novel.
The high points of the novel for me were Theo's life immediately after the explosion that kills his mother, when he is taken in by the wealthy family of a school friend, and his relationship with Hobie, the furniture dealer who takes him on as a kind of apprentice. As in "The Secret History," Tartt excels in showing the dark underside of wealth and privilege, and it wasn't a surprise when members of the wealthy family turn up later in Theo's life and play some decisive roles. As for Hobie, I wanted to read a whole novel about him, because the portions that describe his sense for furniture and his love for the past were some of the strongest in the book. Boris, the Russian-born friend Theo makes during his sojourn in Las Vegas with his gambler father, is also a vivid character, and I appreciated that Tartt took his character in directions I didn't expect.
It's the ending (and by "ending" I mean about the last 200 pages) that was the real problem for me. The violence and cross-continents chase scenes just didn't ring true. This part of the book, in which more "happens" in plot terms, was actually the hardest to get through. Tartt excels at rendering the inner lives of characters, but the action scenes fall flat.
I hate giving this novel a mediocre rating, because I appreciate the ambition it embodies and the parts of it in which Tartt's prose really sings. She's engaging some important questions about the power of art in this book, and the scenes that feature Theo thinking through his relationship with the purloined painting were moving and thought-provoking. The novel as a whole just doesn't measure up to its best components, sadly.
This is not to say that the book is necessarily realistic; it is structurally a Bildungsroman, and it constantly evokes earlier books rather than real life. In the opening section, when Theo is still living in New York City, I particularly detected The Catcher in the Rye. When he moves in with the family of a wealthy school friend, his hope of being adopted by them evokes elements of Great Expectations, a book that is recalled again when he returns to them over a decade later to find the matron of the family shut away like Miss Havisham (though for very different reasons). He is taken away to Las Vegas and falls in with a bad crowd, evoking Oliver Twist. As in that book, the reader understands that some of this crowd provide necessary support for the young man. Theo returns to New York and, years later, finds himself exploring dark places with Boris, his criminally inclined Las Vegas friend, following the trail of a missing painting. This reminded me of the best work of Stephen Dobyns. Some parts of the book even recall The Maltese Falcon, though the book treats its namesake artwork as more than merely a MacGuffin. Others will find different precedents, I'm sure. This book is long and rich.
Tartt took over a decade to write The Goldfinch, and polished its language over that time. In Las Vegas, for example, Theo describes his new quarters as "the kind of room where a call girl or stewardess would be murdered on television." Tartt has so much fun with the speaking cadence of drunk Russians (or Ukranians), I have to imagine she spends a fair amount of time with Slavs. Dialect humor is rare nowadays, but here it is done with such love that it's inoffensive and often quite funny.
I've not spent time in the failed housing developments at the extremes of Las Vegas, nor with Ukrainian drug dealers, but Tartt portrays these worlds so vividly I don't doubt her depictions of them at all. The quality of the plotting, the characterizations, and the dialog in this book are consistently excellent. As Stephen King wrote of The Goldfinch in the New York Times Book Review, "You keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but . . . they never do."
What's not so perfect? Though Tartt captures the subtleties of several different kinds of relationships between men, much better than I would have thought possible for a female author, the relationships between Theo Dekker and women never quite ring true. One may give the excuse that Theo is so damaged by the loss of his mother that he is never again capable of normal relationships with the opposite sex, but I think this explanation takes one only so far.
The passages in which Theo crams for university entrance exams seem hard to believe and, oddly for a tome like this, rushed.
Finally, and this is not Tartt's fault, I'm sure, the paper in the hardcover edition is too thin. I suspect the publisher winced at receiving an 800 page manuscript and decided to print on thin paper in the hope of creating a less intimidating volume on bookstore shelves. When reading page 403, you have to ignore the backwards shadow of the words on page 404, overleaf.
Tartt tackles broad themes in this book: to what degree can we control our fate? Or does life unspool in response only to forces beyond our control, including randomness? These are common enough topics for novelists, and I found myself dwelling particularly on some of the book's secondary themes, as they are less commonly discussed. Can humans create objects that have souls, and what obligation do we have to our creations, and is there any meaningful way in which artifacts make life worth living? What is the significance of authenticity, and can a copy ever be as significant as the original? Can we be moved sometimes by the absence of something as much as we would have been by its presence? In a profile of Tartt on October 21, the New York Times said that this book raises such questions as "whether it is possible to be good, what part love plays in our behavior and what in life is true and lasting."
It's a wonderful book, worth every penny and every hour needed to read it.
First, the book is WAY too long. I don't mind a good long book that merits the length, but this book was in dire need of editing and could easily have been about two thirds as long. Having said that, the first half had promise, and is the reason why I gave the book two stars rather than just one. The description of the bombing at the museum is powerful. The author effectively evokes the disorientation and confusion that one would likely experience in such a traumatic event. It is heartbreaking as Theo waits for his Mom to return and eventually realizes she won't. I felt so much sympathy for this boy, because in the end no one really wants him, and he knows it.
The story begins to go south when Theo heads to Las Vegas. Still, I had great hopes for the book and the characters even through the endless chapters of teenage boys getting drunk and stoned and shoplifting. It is understandable that Theo would drown his sorrow and act out after such a tragedy. Surely, this character would evolve in some way. Eventually. Right?
Nope! More than a decade later Theo is a drug addict who takes advantage of the only decent person in the story and the only person who actually loves Theo. Grrrrr....
I read some reviews discussing how this book beautifully describes the powerful connection that can be experienced with some pieces of art. Now, I am no art aficionado, but even I was offended by how this painting was treated in this book. Theo "loves" this painting so much that he wraps it (or at least what he thinks is "it") in newspaper and endless amounts of tape, hauls it cross country on a bus, and hides it away in a storage locker that he never visits. Art abuse to the nth degree!
Basically the book is filled with two dimensional characters who do not evolve in any way. I won't even bother with the laughable plot line involving characters that are pure caricatures of Easter European mafia. (Oh, as Theo languishes in his hotel room after the incomprehensible caper, I found myself lamenting, "Oh, won't this story ever end?")
Cruelly, the book had one last, parting shot. Theo waxes philosophical for about 20 pages at the end (I read on a Kindle so I am approximating). After all he has gone through (and all we have gone through), his profound conclusion is this: life is cruel and there is no meaning to it. I can say the same thing about this book.