Donna Tartt shot to fame with her iconic first novel, The Secret History, an instant bestseller. This was followed by The Little Friend in 2002. Eleven years later, her eagerly awaited, much anticipated third novel, The Goldfinch, comes to Book at Bedtime, coinciding with worldwide publication.
At the heart of the novel lies a masterwork by the Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, a picture of a small chained bird, The Goldfinch. This tiny painting becomes the only certainty for thirteen year old Theo Decker when his secure world with his devoted mother is shattered. From the chaos of existence with his reckless father, and a passionate friendship with the crazy, warm-hearted Boris, to the drawing rooms of the Upper East Side and a dusty downtown antique shop, Theo is left to find his own way through his teenage years and into adulthood. The painting is his talisman, his touchstone, until it draws him into a murky criminal underworld of drugs, art theft and fatal dealings.
Tartt follows Theo through grief, teenage delinquency, passionate friendship and obsessive love, in a story of enthralling suspense, peopled with unforgettable characters. As the drama reaches its gripping conclusion, Theo may or may not find out how to survive.
In today's episode: . 'Who I needed to be with' An evening with Pippa confirms Theo's feelings but life is complicated and Boris offers a way out, at least for now, and hope of something else.
Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Bennington College. She is the author of the novels The Secret History, The Little Friend, and The Goldfinch.
The reader is Jamie Parker.
The abridger is Sally Marmion.