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!
I like novels that:
--Present at least one character I care about, whom I like, or whom I can root for;
--Tell an interesting and/or entertaining story and demonstrate a sense of humor;
--Teach me about times in history and places in the world that I am not familiar with;
--Are written in such a way that I cannot put the book down;
--Adopt a thoughtful and understanding perspective on the way people face challenges and difficulties in their lives, and avoid condescending to them;
--Are about working people, women, minorities, and so many other types of people throughout history (rather than spoiled middle or upper-class brats) who struggle against the obstacles designed to keep them in their place;
--Place their stories in a social, historical, or political context to help define the way their characters behave, rather than just elaboration in terms of individual psychology;
--Avoid wallowing in degeneracy, sex, violence, and despair for their own sake, or for the purpose of selling more books;
--Are more than just showpieces to demonstrate how intelligent and literate the author thinks he or she is;
--Are “hidden gems” that do not get the attention of elite literary critics concerned with promoting the “right” books to make a name for themselves;
--Affirm positive spiritual and personal values on some level, even if--actually, especially if--taking place in the worst possible environments;
--Show a picture of the author on the back cover as a real human being I would like to know more about, rather than one who is sneering at the reader.
The Goldfinch is the direct and thoroughly unpleasant opposite of all of these.
OK, the narrator starts out by saying he is 27 years old and recalls events which happened 14 years earlier, correct? Let us be generous and say it is 2013 in this critically acclaimed novel (although it must have been written and finished earlier than this year), and 14 years earlier when the narrator was 13 years old was, let's see, 1999, right? (D'uh!) (I've found no indications that the narration starts out in the future!) Everyone in this novel has a cellphone. The 13 year old narrator has an iPod. The iPod was introduced by Apple in 2001. There are references to Harry Potter. OK, the first Harry Potter volume was published in 1997. What about the reference to the shoe bomber? (2001 as well.) Las Vegas, we are made to understand, is undergoing a housing crisis in 1999, abandoned homes, desert reclaiming developments, cheap rents (check yourself if that is true for the late 1990s.) Well, at least the 1933 movie "SOS Iceberg" checks out, although how and where these 13 year old characters had heard of such an obscure film is not explained.
And if the narrative is indeed in the future and time remembered by the narrator now in 2013, then how many 13 year olds today (or anyone?) would know or remember the shoe bomber of 2001?
More. Theo's Las Vegas pal is for an unexplained reason tri-national, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian. Or is the reason to show his vast knowledge of obscenities in three and more (he's widely traveled) languages? You should savor the conversations between Theo and this Boris (or Borys in Ukrainian, as the author sees necessary to inform us), endless exchanges of eF words, and later on cryptic cellphone text messages (again in 1999, at the latest.)
You can mess with geography and weather in fiction. You can invent events, such as the museum bombing in this novel, invent cities and streets, businesses on existing streets, but when you start messing with time, you've entered the science fiction category and even science fiction has its rules which this novel does not seem to observe. End result is a confused, distracted reader.
At 771 pages, this latest by Donna Tartt weighs in near the top of the class. But why wait ten years to write a book of this length, rather than publish two or three shorter novels in the same time? The entire story could easily have been a trilogy, and I could have enjoyed any one of the volumes separately, especially given its arresting opening. It first drew me into its orbit on page 22. Theo Decker, the 13-year-old protagonist, enters a New York exhibit of Dutch painting with his mother. Tartt's writing, which had been serviceable up to that time, bursts into bloom with a glorious paragraph that exactly captures the luminous wonder of the Dutch Golden Age. Soon after that, the main plot kicked in, and we were away. The museum is targeted by a terrorist bomb. Theo's mother is killed; he survives. But first comes a dazed encounter with a dying man in the rubble, who gives him a signet ring and an address to take it to, and entrusts him with the small painting by Carel Fabritius called "The Goldfinch" that had featured in the exhibition.
[SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH if you do not want to know any more about the plot, though the details below are minor ones.] I mentioned trilogy since the rest of the novel falls roughly into three phases, each relating to one of the things that Theo lost or gained on that day: his mother, the ring, and the painting. So the next 250 pages have to do with Theo's life as an orphan, virtually adopted by a wealthy family on the Upper East Side. This certainly held my interest, but when Theo's vanished father turns up to cart him off the Las Vegas, my attention began to flag. The middle section overlaps with the other two. It begins when Theo presents the ring at an antique store in Greenwich Village and meets the dead man's partner, a furniture restorer called Hobie, a wonderfully sympathetic character, who brings the story to life whenever he appears. Under his loving tutelage, Theo learns the antiques business, and how to tell the real from the fake. But as we move into the last 300 pages of the book, following a gap of eight years, Theo's life becomes increasingly dominated by his continued possession of the painting which, together with a series of foolish choices of his own, drags him down into a shady underworld without a moral compass.
For the huge book to work as a whole, you must have one or more of these things: a prose style that is a joy in itself, or an all-embracing formal structure, or a sequence of events that keeps you fascinated throughout, or character development that is consistent from beginning to end and traces some clear arc, or some major theme or moral payoff that makes the long journey worthwhile. Donna Tartt's style seldom reaches to those heights, but in all fairness few of the writers I mention above are especially noted for their prose. Her roughly chronological organization is at least straightforward, but she does not have the tight control of Catton, and a lot of her material seems arbitrary. She keeps minor events coming without falling into the hyperactivity of Shacochis or Pessl, but moves too slowly in significant ways to maintain the necessary momentum, leaving several thickets of dead wood. I do think she created a very attractive character in the young Theo at first, but either I did not see the organic evolution into the man he becomes, or I simply did not want to stick with him as he falls into foolish, addictive, or criminal behaviors.
And as for the overriding moral, consider what he says near the end of the book: "No one will ever, ever be able to persuade me that life is some awesome, rewarding treat. Because, here's the truth: life is catastrophe." If you care to read 771 pages to reach that conclusion, go for it. But be warned: it is a long haul.