DNF at about 50%. While I may still finish this book, I feel like I have a good enough snapshot of the book to post a review. I listened to the audiobook, which is as much of an investment of time as actually reading the 800+ page tome. I got through about 20 hours before I ran out of time on the library loan.
The story is of Theo Decker, an art theif hiding out in Europe. Of course, the story delves into his origin story, beginning with him as a seven year old child and following him through young adulthood and adulthood. The story details tragedies of his past and where he gained the necessary skills for his career as an art thief.
Honestly, this book is way too long and detailed to be actually worthwhile as a reading commitment. Tartt goes over countless tiny details, such as what he eats for breakfast, what he wears to school, what distinguishes the kids from each other. On the one hand, this attention to detail allows readers to delve deeply into the story. I found myself zoning out often, listening to and immersed in Theo’s life story. On the other hand, however, I often found myself asking why this story had to be so long and detailed to get the point across. Components of his life, especially some of the more basic ones, could have been glanced over and this would have been just as compelling of a read. Or is Tartt’s attention to detail what makes this story so robust? These are the questions I’m asking myself that will probably lead to me picking up this book once again at a later date.
I can see the wheels of the story turning throughout the book, can feel pieces of the puzzle connecting without Tartt having to explicitly combine every aspect. Although her intro is explicit, she lets the storytelling unfold in a way that makes readers feel as though they are naturally arriving at conclusions about Theo’s future on their own. This organic feeling may also be what seems to be so attractive about this book.
However, again I’m going to say that the sheer quantity of this book detracts from the general story. The pace is slow, even more than halfway through. And although dramatic events occur, they take so long to unfold that they don’t lend the book a tone of action that I’m desperately craving from the storyline.
So far, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless they had an exorbitant amount of time on their hands and wanted to lose themselves in a story that is incredibly complete and sometimes despicable.