Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch (Abacus, 2013)
Times Higher Education
9 April 2015
Initially put off by the sheer length of this novel, I soon realised that it was going to be as rewarding as my favourite monuments of fiction, whether by Dickens or by Dostoevsky. The title alludes to a 17th-century painting of a beautiful bird chained to its perch: a work of art that dignifies, illuminates and redeems the life of such a fragile, suffering creature. The novel does likewise in recounting the struggle of a contemporary American teenager to survive amid the chaos and cruelty of circumstance. Stunning.