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Book at Bedtime

The Goldfinch

Episode 1: Tiny Yellow Bird, Faint beneath a Veil of Dust

Duration: 15 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 FMLatest broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 LW

Donna Tartt shot to fame with her iconic first novel, The Secret History, an instant bestseller. This was followed by The Little Friend in 2002. Now, eleven years later, her eagerly awaited, much anticipated third novel, The Goldfinch, comes to Book at Bedtime, beginning on the eve of world wide publication.

At the heart of the novel lies a masterwork by the Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, a picture of a small chained bird, The Goldfinch. This tiny painting becomes the only certainty for thirteen year old Theo Decker when his secure world with his devoted mother is shattered and life becomes fallible and frightening. From the vagaries of existence with his foolish, reckless father, and a passionate friendship with the chaotic, warm-hearted, wild Boris, to the drawing rooms of the Upper East Side and a dusty downtown antique shop, Theo is left to find his own way through his teenage years and into adulthood. The painting is his talisman, his touchstone, until it draws him into a murky criminal underworld of drugs, art theft and fatal dealings.

Tartt follows Theo through grief, teenage delinquency, passionate friendship and obsessive love, in a story of enthralling suspense, peopled with unforgettable characters. As the drama reaches its gripping conclusion, Theo may or may not find out how to survive.
In today's opening episode: 'Tiny yellow bird, faint beneath a veil of dust'. Theo finds a treasure amid the rubble.
Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Bennington College. She is the author of the novels The Secret History, The Little Friend, and The Goldfinch.

The reader is Jamie Parker. His credits include The History Boys, Valkyrie and Parade's End. The abridger is Sally Marmion
The producer is Di Speirs. Show less

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