by Donna Tartt |
REVIEWED BY CAROL MEMMOTT
When terrorists detonate a bomb at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, it’s not just priceless masterpieces that are destroyed. Theo Decker, 13, survives the blast but remains forever trapped under the emotional wreckage of the devastating loss of his mother. His Dickensian journey to manhood is at the heart of Tartt’s third novel. Like The Secret History and The Little Friend before it, Goldfinch is a story fueled by dangerous secrets and tragic events. At 771 pages the book is sometimes ponderous yet always compulsively readable, thanks to its hero and the friends who accompany him on his journey: Boris, who shares Theo’s spiral into drugs and alcohol, and Hobie, the wise, gentle antiques dealer who nurtures his young friend’s love of beautiful things. Theo, his heart chained to grief, is also tethered to “The Goldfinch,” a 17th-century Dutch oil he took from the museum rubble that awful day. With confident brush strokes, Tartt paints an homage to art and its ability to soothe and captivate. Theo’s coming-of-age, set in New York, Las Vegas and Amsterdam, is shaped not just by tragedy but by the beauty of artworks which, like loving relationships, Tartt writes, “strike the heart and set it blooming like a flower.”
by Wendy Lower
REVIEWED BY ANDREA WALKER
At the end of WWII, thousands of Germans were convicted for their roles in the Holocaust; only a handful of those brought to justice were female. In this well-researched corrective, historian Lower argues that “genocide is also women’s business” and uncovers the “blind spots and taboos” that have prevented us from seeing the myriad roles played by secretaries, teachers, nurses and wives in the Nazi killing machine. “Jewish survivors,” she writes, “identified German women … not only as gleeful onlookers but also as violent tormentors.” Her book is as gripping and eye-opening as it is chilling.
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