Donna Tartt at the Divinity Schools

Can you top fantastic?

Hmm…and I am a truly positive person but I can’t see how that’s possible. Well last night was on a par with it at least. Come with me reader and I’ll explain.

Picture this – evening time in the Divinity schools at the Bodleian Library. You are seated, aisle-side, hearing, seeing and drinking in the pleasure of a ‘conversation’ with Donna Tartt. She’s more than an infinitely talented author. She’s controlled, fascinating, honest and unbelievably good at keeping you engaged, both in the spoken and written word.

She starts with a reading, the kind that clearly cements her brilliance. Another plus point, she’s a really competent reader as well.

Oh no dilemma – how can I engineer it that she’ll come back to mine after and read the rest of The Goldfinch to my husband and I (it’s currently our book at bedtime) without coming across too creepy?  Sadly, I not very capable when it comes to thinking, in particular – fast – so I’ll have to put this hankering to bed.

I promise my intention isn’t to rub it in, as possibly you missed it, but her Master class was better than satisfying.  Additionally, her chair/questioner/co-stage sitter Michael Prodger cleverly took her off piste a little and the listeners were granted further access to her mind and passions. For instance, she spoke enthusiastically about art + antiques and their impact upon her.

Specifically two things stick out as I reflect:

  1. when she detailed the experience of seeing a Dutch Master from 22 feet back in a crowdless gallery
  2. her first experience with real art (not reproductions), aged 17, at the National Gallery in Washington.

Actually, there was a downer to the evening – we didn’t get more time with her – and I was too nervous to ask her out for dinner.

Dash it, the reality of being a groupie.

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