Literature: The secret history of Donna Tartt
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Wednesday 13 February 2013
Her production rate may be arthritically slow, but the news will delight her fans. The cultish American novelist Donna Tartt will publish another book in October – her third, after the international bestseller The Secret History (1992) and its follow-up, The Little Friend (2002).
Observing her fondness for a 10-year gap in publication, readers in 2012 wondered if that year might bring a new work. Little Brown, her publisher, revealed it has been sitting on the new book since 2008, and had pencilled in a 2012 launch date – but it was mysteriously pushed back.
Last summer the book was still untitled. It now has a title, The Goldfinch, and concerns a young New York boy who survives an explosion that kills his mother, lives rough and is drawn into the “art underworld” through his obsession with a small painting.
Tartt, 49, is big on youthful obsession. The Secret History, set in a posh college in Vermont, traces the lives of six classics students whose adventures take on the dimensions of a Greek tragedy and involve them in a murder. The Little Friend concerns a girl called Harriet who is obsessed with her brother’s death, stalks the man whom she thinks responsible until he becomes obsessed with her. Murder, guilt, unpunished crime and death of innocence are her themes.
Tartt’s books have a voice that’s dry, calm, allusive and unexcitable, even when she’s telling you shocking things. She’s also famous for her love of privacy. She hasn’t given an interview since 2003 and was always reluctant to discuss her personal life. So readers have themselves become a little obsessed with her: with her 1920s bob haircut; her position in the so-called Brat Pack who took US fiction by storm in the 1980s; her friendship with Bret Easton Ellis; her fondness for the novel True Grit, which she has narrated on audiobook; that her great-grandmother was Scottish and read her the works of J M Barrie and R L Stevenson.
Stand by for a flurry of excitement in October as the transatlantic literati compete to interview her – and try to find out why the new book has taken so long…
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran due to execute woman for murder of her alleged attempted rapist
- 2 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 5 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
Cilla, episode 3, ITV - review: Ed Stoppard steals the limelight as Beatles manager Brian Epstein
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2: The Green Legend will be Netflix's first original movie
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
The Jungle Book: A tale as old as time
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >