The hammock on the terrace was the perfect reading spot.
I have just spent a week in Tuscany doing very little apart from driving – which I hate. Italian drivers really put you under pressure, with the constant horn blasting and pushing right up against your backside – along with eating, drinking, talking and reading.
This is what I was reading…
I’m normally put off by the “No.1 Bestseller” strapline because it can be any old garbage, but add to it a “Pulitzer Prize for Fiction”… well, you can’t ignore that. A total of 864 pages later, the last 50 pages of which I eked out, not wanting it to end, I was stunned.
Donna Tartt is a sublime writer. She has written the most extraordinary book, with so many twists and turns. Besides that, her book is thrilling. She is sensitive, funny, poetic, sensual, moving and much more. If you never read fiction, then try this: I guarantee you won’t put it down.
But the cover is terrible, really terrible, and looks like a typical publishing sales department committee-compromised number – let’s have a bit of this and a bit of that. That glimpse of an image peeking out of the cover is the painting of the book’s title, The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius (painted in 1654), and is the central and recurring symbol of the story. I wondered if Tartt was involved in the cover approval. I kind of hope she wasn’t, as I’d like to think that she has a visual sensitivity. And this cover certainly ain’t sensitive.
With such a brick-size book, there is an immediate presence: it’s big so doesn’t need this over-hyped down-market cover. It is an insult to the quality of the writing. Anyway, it upset me so much that I designed and wrapped this one around my copy.