The-Goldfinch-by-Donna-TarttFrom time to time a literary novel hits the bestseller lists, delighting ordinary readers, but dismaying literary critics. Donna Tartt’s third novel, The Goldfinch, released in October 2013, took her more than 10 years to write. A massive tome about an adolescent boy’s coming of age after the violent death of his mother, The Goldfinch has been called Dickensian in scope and characters. While some critics, like the New York Times’ esteemed Michiko Kakutani effused over The Goldfinch with lavish praise, many other reviewers called it overwritten and sloppy. When The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer for fiction earlier this year, literary critics were confounded. Yet The Goldfinch remains on the bestseller lists and continues to spur cocktail party conversation. 

This week in #LitChat MediaMonday we’ll discuss the differences in how ordinary people read, verses writers, reviewers and critics. Follow #LitChat in Twitter, or login directly to our dedicated channel at

Resource Media for June 16, 2014

It’s Tartt, but is it Art?, Evgenia Peretz, Vanity Fair, July 2014

Why People Are Talking About the Goldfinch Again, Lily Rothman, Time, June 11, 2014

I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Sing, Francine Prose, Harper’s, September 1999

Later This Week in #LitChat

Not Without YouGuest Host on Wednesday, June 16, 2014: Harriet Evans.

Harriet Evans is the internationally bestselling author of Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic, The Love of Her Life, I Remember You, Love Always, and Happily Ever After. She lives in London.