Did you stand a little taller, April 14, this past Monday?
You should as a Mississippian. Our very own Greenwood native, Donna Tartt, won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her third book The Goldfinch. The Pulitzer website states the award is given, “for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.”
From the publisher Little Brown (since I have yet to read it), “Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity.
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.”
High praise comes from the Pulitzer jury who states, “It is a beautifully written coming-of-age novel with exquisitely drawn characters that follows a grieving boy’s entanglement with a small famous painting that has eluded destruction, a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.”
Upon hearing the news, Tartt said, “I am incredibly happy and incredibly honored and the only thing I am sorry about is that Willie Morris and Barry Hannah aren’t here. They would have loved this.”
May I say, we are “happy and incredibly honored” to have raised such a talented Mississippian in Donna Tartt!
Maggie Moran is director of learning resources for Northwest Community College