Friday, February 7, 2014

Feeling Vindicated by Francine Prose on "The Goldfinch"

Occasionally I write here about books I DIDN’T read, or didn't finish. One of these books not finished, which I wrote about here on 11/10/13, was Donna Tartt’s new novel, “The Goldfinch.” It has gotten very good reviews; it is also a bestseller. As I said in that earlier post, I just don’t think Tartt is a particularly good writer, I just couldn’t get interested in this novel, and the thought of reading all 700-plus pages was too much for me. But I wondered if it was “just me” who felt this way. So I was pleased to read the respected author and critic Francine Prose’s scathing review of “The Goldfinch” in the New York Review (1/9/14); at last, someone who wasn’t raving about the novel! Prose decries the frequent labeling of this sprawling novel as “Dickensian,” pointing out that it lacks Dickens’ “originality, his intelligence, his witty and precise descriptions, the depth and breadth of his powers of observation, his cadenced, graceful language…” Later in the review, Prose says that “The Goldfinch” contains many passages that are “bombastic, overwritten, marred by baffling turns of phrase, metaphor and similes that falter…” She also says that the novel is full of clichés and “careless and pedestrian language.” I feel somewhat vindicated in my opinion about Tartt’s writing, not only in this novel but in the two earlier ones. Prose wonders why so many people she knew or met were so enthusiastic about "The Goldfinch"; I appreciate her saying in print what I have been thinking.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Site Meter