iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Who I Needed to Be With

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Who I Needed to Be With

Book at Bedtime, The Goldfinch Episode 12 of 15

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 05 November 2013

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.


Jamie Parker
Di Speirs
Sally Marmion
Donna Tartt


Kirsty Wark Meets Donna Tartt: A Review Show Special

Image for Kirsty Wark Meets Donna Tartt: A Review Show Special

Kirsty Wark Meets Donna Tartt: A Review Show Special

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss