Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch

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Натаhas quoted6 years ago
Artist’s loft, without the art!
shanhas quotedlast year
‘Bad artists copy, good artists steal.’
shanhas quotedlast year
It was Boris I missed, the whole impulsive mess of him: gloomy, reckless, hot-tempered, appallingly thoughtless.
Mari.ahas quotedlast year
Caught between sneezes, I gave a bright, Russian-accented shrug I’d picked up from Boris: anything.
Mari.ahas quotedlast year
I know. I was dying for a beer but I knew better than to go in a deli and try to buy one without ID.
shanhas quotedlast year
And when I looked away for a second and then looked back, I saw her reflection behind me, in the mirror. I was speechless. Somehow I knew I wasn’t allowed to turn around—it was against the rules, whatever the rules of the place were—but we could see each other, our eyes could meet in the mirror, and she was just as glad to see me as I was to see her. She was herself. An embodied presence. There was psychic reality to her, there was depth and information. She was between me and whatever place she had stepped from, what landscape beyond. And it was all about the moment when our eyes touched in the glass, surprise and amusement, her beautiful blue eyes with the dark rings around the irises, pale blue eyes with a lot of light in them: hello! Fondness, intelligence, sadness, humor. There was motion and stillness, stillness and modulation, and all the charge and magic of a great painting. Ten seconds, eternity. It was all a circle back to her. You could grasp it in an instant, you could live in it forever: she existed only in the mirror, inside the space of the frame, and though she wasn’t alive, not exactly, she wasn’t dead either because she wasn’t yet born, and yet never not born—as somehow, oddly, neither was I. And I knew that she could tell me anything I wanted to know (life, death, past, future) even though it was already there, in her smile, the answer to all questions, the before-Christmas smile of someone with a secret too wonderful to let slip, just yet: well, you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you? But just as she was about to speak—drawing an affectionate exasperated breath I knew very well, the sound of which I can hear even now—I woke up.
asasiprhas quoted2 years ago
But—more than anything—I liked him because he treated me as a companion and conversationalist in my own right
Jana Karpenkohas quoted6 years ago
Whenever you see flies or insects in a still life—a wilted petal, a black spot on the apple—the painter is giving you a secret message. He’s telling you that living things don’t last—it’s all temporary. Death in life. That’s why they’re called natures mortes. Maybe you don’t see it at first with all the beauty and bloom, the little speck of rot. But if you look closer—there it is.
jellybellyhas quoted2 months ago
Her death was my fault. Other people have always been a little too quick to assure me that it wasn’t; and yes, only a kid, who could have known, terrible accident, rotten luck, could have happened to anyone, it’s all perfectly true and I don’t believe a word of it
jellybellyhas quoted2 months ago
And her laugh was enough to make you want to kick over what you were doing and follow her down the street.
jellybellyhas quoted2 months ago
And yet she was wholly herself: a rarity. I cannot recall ever seeing another person who really resembled her.
jellybellyhas quoted2 months ago
just an ordinary birthday dinner you might see anywhere in an inexpensive downtown restaurant, and I’m sure I wouldn’t even remember it had she not died so soon after, but I thought about it again and again after her death and indeed I’ll probably think about it all my life: that candlelit circle, a tableau vivant of the daily, commonplace happiness that was lost when I lost her.
jellybellyhas quoted2 months ago
And as much as I wanted to, I knew I couldn’t turn around, that to look at her directly was to violate the laws of her world and mine; she had come to me the only way she could, and our eyes met in the glass for a long still moment; but just as she seemed about to speak—with what seemed a combination of amusement, affection, exasperation—a vapor rolled between us and I woke up.
medihas quoted3 months ago
A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.
medihas quoted3 months ago
good doesn’t always follow from good deeds, nor bad deeds result from bad, does it?
medihas quoted3 months ago
And the heart-shock of believing, for only a moment, that you might just have what could never be yours.
medihas quoted3 months ago
I no longer considered my body my own. It had ceased to belong to me. My hands, moving, felt separate, floating of their own accord, and when I stood it was like operating a marionette, unfolding myself, rising jerkily on strings.
medihas quoted3 months ago
There’s a pattern and we’re a part of it. Yet if you scratched very deep at that idea of pattern (which apparently he had never taken the trouble to do), you hit an emptiness so dark that it destroyed, categorically, anything you’d ever looked at or thought of as light.
medihas quoted3 months ago
Time destroyed us all soon enough. But to destroy, or lose, a deathless thing—to break bonds stronger than the temporal—was a metaphysical uncoupling all its own, a startling new flavor of despair.
medihas quoted3 months ago
All things fall and are built again. Ancient glittering eyes. This was wisdom. People had been raging and weeping and destroying things for centuries and wailing about their puny individual lives, when—what was the point? All this useless sorrow? Consider the lilies of the field. Why did anyone ever worry about anything? Weren’t we, as sentient beings, put upon the earth to be happy, in the brief time allotted to us?
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