Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6: Tell Me A Story, Change in Plans, Donna Tartt, "The Goldfinch"

"Tell me a story, Charlotte!" said Wilbur, as he lay waiting for sleep to come.  "Tell me a story!"

Wilbur is expressing one of the primal urges that exists in the universe:  to hear a good story.  When I gather with my family at Christmas, we tell stories to each other.  At night, before my son goes to sleep, I read him a story.  I first read Charlotte's Web to my daughter when she was five years old.  We tell jokes, spin tales, exaggerate, brag.  There's nothing like hearing a good story.

Usually, on Thursdays, the plan is to post about something for which I'm thankful.  Well, since I'm writing daily gratitude posts for Lent, I'm going to interrupt our normally scheduled Thankful Thursdays.  Instead, on Lenten Thursdays, I'm going to talk about what I'm currently reading.  I'm not writing book reviews.  I'm just telling you about what's in my book bag.

At the moment, I'm around 100 pages into Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, and I'm really enjoying it.  It's a 750-page novel, so I've barely scratched the surface.  But what I have scratched is riveting.  Tartt's main character has just survived the bombing of an art museum, and he's trying to find his mother, who was in another wing of the museum when the explosions ripped through the building.  For a literary novel, it's reading like a thriller, and I love that.

Tartt's prose is dense and poetic.  She's setting the stage for a complex narrative of art, abandonment, deception, and guilt.  Theo Decker, the protagonist, is thirteen-years-old when his mother is killed.  His father, an unhappy alcoholic, disappeared a couple years before, sending only a hastily scribbled note saying he was headed off "to start a new life."  At the point I am in The Goldfinch, Theo looks like he's headed for a life of complete loss and desolation.

I know that doesn't really sound like a book with which to settle down on the couch for a pleasant evening, but Tartt is such a good writer that I can't help being mesmerized by the story.

And that's what it's all about for Saint Marty:  tell him a story.

Do yourself a favor and read this book

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