Review of Every One of Donna Tartt’s Novels

by Maryssa Orta
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Donna Tartt is an author with one amazing profile, despite only publishing three books in about 20 years. Yet, the small catalog of books remains wildly impressive and awe-inspiring. With her last book, The Goldfinch, released in 2014, her next book is thought to come out in 2023-2024. However, it is never too early, or too late to enjoy these stories. Check out the scoop on Donna Tartt!

Donna Tartt specializes in writing drama, literary fiction, mysteries each with a different perspective in life. Despite only publishing three books, her stories are some of the best. They can even be considered classics. Worlds of tragedy are woven together through specific language and outstanding detail. Each one will transport you to rather terrifying situations, yet you can never look away.

1. The Secret History

The Secret History is a satire about college student Richard Papen as he joins an elitist academic group who studies the classics. A 28-year-old Richard tells the story of all the events that took place in his first year there, and how they have affected him now. It’s a story full of mystery and rather funny moments. The drama is nail-biting and the language is very dreamy.

Personally, this book is my favorite book of all time. However, I could see why it might be someone’s least favorite book of all time. The good? Characters feel incredibly real and the overall messages and themes come across very nicely. Donna Tartt includes minute details about every single character so they fell just as real. The bad? Characters may feel real, but they are very unlikable. Even our protagonist isn’t the best. However, if you are a fan of moral ambiguity and mysteries this may be the book for you!

2. The Little Friend

The Little Friend is a mystery adventure that follows Harriet Cleve Dufresnes, a young girl trying to solve the unexplained death of her brother, Robin. Taking place in Mississippi in the 1970s, there is an emphasis on the time and the era. It is a terrifying story of how children end up involved in the adult world. This book is also very different from The Secret History as the POVs differ and do not focus on one person.

This book is amazing! Donna Tartt shows her strength in character building once again. Characters are also more likable this time around. This story is also very captivating and the setting is realistic and detailed. This novel will transport you to its world.

3. The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch tells the story of Theo Decker. This novel is a bildungsroman, which means the reader gets to follow this character over time from childhood to adulthood. Theo loses his mother in a bombing at an art gallery. Through his confusion he accidentally grabs a painting: The Goldfinch by Carl Fabritius. It haunts him as it follows him from New York to Las Vegas and back again.

Though the plot is loose, it doesn’t mean the story is weak. Once again Donna Tartt’s strength lies in character building. Of course, Theo is a strong character, but so are the others he interacts with throughout his life. Another great thing about this story is the message. Life will always be worth living no matter our struggles, and how art and things can impact a life tremendously. This book has a movie too. It’s a beautiful story that is worth anyone’s time.

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Donna Tartt has created some of the most interesting and well-written novels I have ever read. All these stories capture a different feeling, yet it is something we’ve all felt before. Whether she is capturing a tragedy or writing about how amazing life can be, you will feel something. Start on the one that calls out to you the most and you may just find your next favorite author!


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