In addition to her novels, Donna Tartt is known for her obsessive fans. As a freshman in college, her writing had already caught the attention of an eminent editor, who introduced himself by saying, "My name's Willie Morris, and I think you're a genius." With the publication of her magnificent debut, The Secret History, Tartt became the focus of something like an international cult. Her second novel, The Little Friend, was one of the most anticipated literary events of the past decade. So it is with particular pleasure that we are featuring The Goldfinch, Tartt's long-awaited third novel, as our selection for Indiespensable Volume 43.
This story about a boy named Theo Decker, who loses his mother in an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, does so many things well, it's hard to know where to begin. Its sprawling Dickensian plot? Its extraordinary cast of characters? Tartt's sublime sentences? Or complex, compelling, heartbreaking Theo at the center of it all? As Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times put it, The Goldfinch is "a novel that pulls together all [Tartt's] remarkable storytelling talents into a rapturous, symphonic whole and reminds the reader of the immersive, stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading." Tartt's fans old and new will devour it.
To complement this delicious novel, we've included a box of Smoked Salt Caramels from Seattle-based Fran's Chocolates. Fran's chocolates are legendary. But don't take our word for it. Culinary icon Ina Garten likes them, too: "I've tried a lot of salted caramels but I always come back to the original ones. OMG I love Fran's chocolate covered caramels with sea salt."
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A collective of high muckamucks, the Panjandrums largely spend their time in competitive Bananagram duels and negotiations regarding Pie Friday — not to mention painstakingly designing each installment of Powell's subscription club, Indiespensable, with the help of independent publishers and local merchants. From time to time, they find it entertaining to give you a look at the hows and whys behind the what. But, if you're yearning for more, send questions, suggestions, and random anecdotes to firstname.lastname@example.org. (They especially like stories about pets, babies, and pie fillings.)
Books mentioned in this post