Having read this magnificent (in my opinion) several months ago, I now have the opportunity to research different aspects of the book. I find reading reviews after having read a book fascinating. Highly regarded newspapers, The New York Times and the Guardian in London can differ wildly on some and totally agree on others. In this case they, along with NPR, agree The Goldfinch is a must read. I even found a great review written by another fairly well known writer, Stephen King. So why is the talk all about the "failure of this too lengthy, Dickensian" story?
Well, it turns out, according to one article, it's our fault. Apparently, the world of the literary critic and its rarified atmosphere is being threatened. No longer are there a snooty few reviewers who can guide our literary taste. Now there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who can obtain access to books before they are published, read them and then dare to have an opinion. What's more, with the Internet in general, and Goodreads in particular, lots of people can read our opinions. It turns out, in this case, we, the lucky pre-reading public, loved this book. How then can the reviewer of old make a statement? They agree to disagree! Some of them are just uncomfortable letting the "masses" determine what is literature.
Here's a secret from one of the masses. I don't determine what is literature, or even what is a well written book. I determine what I enjoy, and what I think you will enjoy. I hope I guessed right on this one, but if I didn't, I think it will make for an even more interesting conversation.
Hope to see you when we do sit down to discuss Donna Tartt's book, The Goldfinch, on Tuesday, June 9th at 6 p.m. at Capital Public Radio.