It is good to know, before embarking on a dazzling, 800 page long novel, that its author does not shy away from imposing impossible pain and distress on her characters. While there is exploration of art, antiques, drugs, and teenage ennui, that’s a lot of pages to spend in the company of a hero that is in various stages of post traumatic shock, grief, loss, and depression — just to pick some of the emotions that are so richly investigated in The Goldfinch in classic Donna Tartt style. She is both master storyteller and architect of misery. To read a Donna Tartt book is to go through the Emergency Room of the mind — there is blood, guts, and broken bones to contend with before one can walk out shakily, somehow, metaphysically the better for it. Her debut novel, The Secret History, published in 1992, established something of a cult following, with its searing examination of teen friendship gone bad, leaving a dead teen in the bargain. Fans waited a decade for her next book The Little Friend, which opened with the brutal encounter of a nine-year-old-boy, strung up on a tree. The Goldfinch comes nearly a decade later and in Donna Tartt style unleashes a world of pain on its 13-year-old hero, Theo.