The Goldfinch Archive

Writ in Water: Retraining the Distance Vision

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There’s a passage in Donna Tartt’s celebrated The Goldfinch, almost a third of the way in, where our protagonist Theo Decker first touches down in Las Vegas. He is arriving for the first time in the West, and Tartt and her literary eye are too.

The Things I Haven’t Read

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Legend had it that a famous scholar of nineteenth century American literature visited my college to lecture, and someone asked him a question about Melville. He began his answer with “While I’ve never read Moby-Dick…” At this remove, I still question the man’s scholarship and sanity—but I do admire his