The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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The Goldfinch is the last novel by Donna Tartt, and the first I read from this author.

The novel takes the title from the painting by Carel Fabritius about a goldfinch chained to a perch;the painting will have a particular role into the novel and it follow the main character into the difficult choices life impose him.

Theo, a twelve year old boy, finds himself involved in a terroristic attack at the where his mother, the only parent who cares for him, dies, and while coming out from that place of horror he steals the painting and he hid it in his home.

The boy’s life will be deeply marked by the death of his mother, event that will bring him to live with the Barbour, the rich family of an old friend of him, and that will exacerbate his inclination toward depression and self-destruction bringing him towards various kind of addictions, from alcohol to drugs.

Essential in his life will be the meeting with Boris, a Russian boy already on the path of an existence at the edge of legality, and the inconstant presence of Pippa, who shared with Theo the attack moment and who is able to understand his feelings about it.

The Goldfinch / Il Cardellino by Carel Fabritius

The painting will arise in Theo mixed feelings: on one hand he is aware of having deprived the humanity of a work of art and of having committed a crime, on the other hand the attraction to the painting – that reminds him of his mother – is too strong to allow him to give it back; this element makes impossible for him to let go his past and to live a serene existence.

 

The plot is engaging, a part of some chapters where everything slows focusing maybe too much on the boy’s emotions that permeate the whole novel (and that poses a risk of depression for the most emphatic readers) : Theo lives an unlucy life, both for chance and for some choices he makes, his reflexive character brings him to share with the reader his doubts, uncertainties and driving emotions.

I have to talk about the descriptions, so vivid and true, that are able to bring the reader just there, where the author wants us to be, beautiful also for the linguistic choices made and for the love of art and music that is a carrying force of the whole novel.

In its construction the novel reminds us of the old great literature, and it’s a read I suggest, despite its complexity and being emotionally demanding.

Least but not last I ask myself: why that specific painting? The goldfinch in the picture is chained, that could be a reference to the fact that Theo choses no to let go the memory of his mother, but to froze himself in that specific, last moment they shared. Or it can mean that Theo’s life is chained in a path he was not able to choose himself.

I read that the goldfinch means the soul of man who leaves the body after death: maybe Thes’s mother whose soul cannot leave the world ?

In a novel where nothing is for chance I think it’s normal to ask some questions of this kind and to answer them, even if giving a non-universal answer.

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* The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt ★★★

*I read this book in English

[ARC] Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman

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In this graphic novel, published some years ago, Neil Gaiman tells a story happened before the creation of the universe, about a tragic death among the angels and its reasons.
Raguel, angel of revenge, remembers the beginning of everything and tells it to a stranger met at night in town.

It’s a beautiful tale, both for the graphic and the structure itself (the one we meet first is the man Raguel talks to) and with a powerful ending.
As in Sandman the author proves to be able to tell a story by using media different from the novel.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman ★★★★☆

*I read this book in English

[ARC] Tape by Steven Camden

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1993, Ryan is trying to overcome the loss of his mother: his father just remarried and with the marriage the boy has gained a step brother he does not like, Nathan. Ryan’s way to process the loss is by recording messages to his mother on a tape.

Years later also Ameliah is processing the loss of both her parents: she lives with her grandmother and begins to look at what remains of her parents, the music they loved, her mother’s guitar and some recorded tapes.

Obviously Ryan and Ameliah are linked together – not to hard to discover why – and the novel follows them both while they begin to move on overcoming their grief.

It’s a nice novel, but no more than that: the plot development and the links between past and present are quite obvious, nevertheless it’s a good novel for young readers.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Tape by Steven Camden ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in English

[ARC] The Moon sisters by Therese Walsh

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Jazz and Olivia are the two extremely different sisters in the novel’s title: the former one is practical and  pragmatic, the latter is a dreamer – also because of a form of synesthesia – and gives great importance to symbols and dreams.

The novel begins with the death of Beth, the mother of the two protagonists, an ambiguous event, that, after bringing confusion to all the Moon family, will bring Olivia to go to the Cranberry Glades to grant one of her mother wishes.

The narration follows the point of view of both the sisters, with sometimes the integration of part of letters wrote by Beth to her father along the years.

This alternation of POV allows to understand the different relation of the two with their mother, whose death both have to face and  overcome in their own way and the relation between the two sisters, extremely difficult because of their huge differences in behaviour.

It’s a  beautiful novel with profound meaning, the only issue is the fact it’s quite slow-paced in the central part (that could have been shorter), however the characters are alive and very well described and coherent with respect the context and their past history.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* The Moon sisters by Therese Walsh ★★★★☆

*I read this book in English

Blue is the warmest color by Julie Maroh

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The graphic novel, from which Blue is the warmest color took inspiration, tells about the intense love story between Clémentine and Emma, the girl with blue hair.

This is not a harmless read, an entertaining one: the author choses to put all the happiness of the two women in a few pages, while most of the book deals with the problems faced and overcome.

It’s a difficult love not because it is a homosexual one (the book recalls us how love is universal and does not submits to categories), but because the two protagonists will have to face everything they are and everything they fear and everything other people think about them – because judgement looms over us constantly.

The story is beautiful and touchy, the graphics are structured such as images more than words have to communicate to the reader: the past is a grey and brown watercolour where blue comes out to warm up Clémentine memories.

A meaningful and well-finished graphic novel.

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* Blue is the warmest color by Julie Maroh ★★★★☆½

*I read this book in Italian

[ARC] Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman

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The signal to noise ratio signify the power of the former with respect to the background provided by the latter one.

The graphic novel, written by Neil Gaiman and pictured by Dave McKean, is about the internal apocalypse of an ill, dying, scriptwriter who wants to finish his last film – that will never be produced.
The novel is interesting also thanks to the representation style: images in sequence imitating movement, boxes that put together create an image, drawings that seems photos.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Signal to noise by Neil Gaiman – ★★★★☆

*I read this book in English

Picure Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

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Mila and her father, Gil, during Easter vacation, travel to America to look for Matthew, an old friend of Gil, disappeared some weeks before.

Mila, a quite but observing girl, wants to discover the reason behind the disappearance: why Matthew left behind his wife, his newborn son and a loving dog now suffering the loss?

I liked “Picture me gone”, the novel is completely based on Mila’s introspection and on her “reading” other people behavior; the POV is always her’s. Another extremely likeable aspect is Mila’s family, somewhat particular (Gil is a translator knowing different languages and Marieka – Mila’s mother – is a concert performer), but solid in its relationship; even far away – Marieka in the novel is a telephonic presence, being in Europe due to work – they are bound one to the other and this is clear also with respect of the other, more emotionally unstable, families within the novel (such as the one’s of Mila’s best friend or Matthew’s).

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* Picure Me Gone by Meg Rosoff ★★★☆☆ ½

*I read this book in English