Using a real painting named “The Goldfinch” as well, by Carel Fabritius, as the story trigger, Donna Tartt builds a beautiful multifaceted novel with vivid characters and a fair share of action and suspense. Theo Decker, the main character, is introduced to the readers in the very first chapter of the book – a grand one that leaves you just wanting to read some more – surviving a bomb attack in New York’s Metropolitan Museum, losing his mother in the same attack and leaving the Museum after the attack with the famous painting of Fabritius, which he will have to hide all his childhood and his young adult life.
As mentioned before, I love fiction that encompasses in its plot real events or historical characters, places or objects, and this book was one of those. More than that, I was thrilled to discover that interior design, antiques and antique restoration references hold an important share to the book. One of Theo’s guardian angels, Hobie, is a antique furniture restorer.
There would have been a lot of sets that could have made it to the subject of this post, besides Theo’s home, where he lived with his mother before her the attack – Hobie’s town house, Hobie’s arriere boutique, Hobie’s workshop, Mrs. Barbour’s living room and bedroom filled with art and good taste – but I chose to illustrate the living room of Theo and his mother, even if the hints to it are rather sparse. I let myself inspired also by the description of the mother, an elegant, art and interior design loving fashion editor.
“…and it made me dizzy to think of all our things flying out of the apartment, furniture and silver and all my mother’s clothes: sample-sale dresses with the tags still on them, all those colored ballet slippers and tailored shirts with her initials on the cuffs. Chairs and Chinese Lamps, old jazz records on vinyl that she’d bought down the Village […]. How could the apartment have seemed so permanent and solid-looking when it was only a stage set, waiting to be struck and carried away by movers in uniform?”