The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, which will surprise no one who’s glanced at the New York Times bestseller list since the book’s October 22 release. In the novel, following a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, protagonist Theo Decker loses his mother and leaves the wreckage with an extraordinarily valuable piece of artwork: “The Goldfinch” by Carel Fabritius.
As Theo is shuttled between the homes of friends and relatives following the attack, he carries the painting with him as a relic of his life before the death of his mother. But once the authorities discover that the painting has gone missing, Theo struggles with tremendous guilt and paranoia about possessing such a valuable piece of art. What follows is an examination of grief as well as a meditation on art’s extraordinary power to preserve humanity in the face of loss.
We got to exclusively share The Goldfinch‘s cover reveal a little over a year ago; it’s been an office favorite since, and we’re delighted at Tartt’s win. The novel was also shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle prize and an Andrew Carnegie Medal.
“The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade,” Stephen King wrote in the New York Times Book Review, “a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind…. Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction.” The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson has acquired the movie rights; we really dig The Millions’ dream cast, which includes Adam Driver, Rachel Weisz, and Emile Hirsch.
The other Fiction finalists were Philipp Meyer for his novel The Son (we highlighted both it and The Goldfinch on our “best fiction of 2013” list) and Bob Shacochis for The Woman Who Lost Her Soul(check out Zola Books’ interview with him). Other winners included Alan Taylor for The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia in History, Megan Marshall‘s Margaret Fuller: A New American Life for Biography, 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri for Poetry, and Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin for General Nonfiction.