By Donna Tartt

Search no further…I repeat…Search no further, for this is the book you should be reading. In fact, this is the book that just might encourage you to call in sick; miss your stop on the bus; delay Christmas; take annual leave from Facebook or force you to tell hideous untruths to release yourself from family commitments.  It’s a shout out loud, god I’m so pleased she wrote it kind of a book.

Not sold yet?

Well, it started out as a book at bedtime, the kind my husband and I occasionally partake in, where I read a chapter  – struggling at times with larger than two syllable words, then he reads a chapter  – with no struggle and excellent dramatic skill – and so it goes. However, I needed to sleep one night and he was off. Feasting away on the tale, accumulating little sleep, finishing it rapidly and bursting to share – although knowing he had to wait.

I’m a slower reader, or should I say ‘savour it’ kind of reader, so he really deserves a commendation for not giving the game away, particularly as this is a book that you want to discuss.

Thankfully, I like to talk, so though he did have to wait, he didn’t need to for long.

I’m trying to work out if it’s the fabulous assortment of characters such as Xandra, Hobie, Boris, Popchik, Andy and Horst; the plot; or that each sentence is flawlessly crafted – no dribble, just powerful literature, that makes this definitely the best book I’ve read in 2013…so I shan’t vote…instead I’ll give you a little more.

So, you follow Theo Decker throughout the action, almost growing-up with him from the age of 13 until I’d guess him to be mid-20s.  Yes, he makes some really unwise decisions at times, but you cut him slack, he’s an adolescent for pity sack, his dad isn’t gifted in the parenting department, he isn’t a bad person. Best of, he’s believable and he’s dealing with what life has thrown at him – which at times is fairly poo, but also excellent page turning stuff. Additionally, as he grows, ‘the voice’ evolves and the language/style of the writing matures with him.

And why the title? Well, it’s also about a painting, one that is so exquisitely detailed, desired and pursued. You read this and you can easily see why Art is essential; why it’s powerful;  why it’s worth fighting for; and how it’s a really personal thing. It also makes you want to run out to a gallery and take a class in Art History.

Donna Tartt you are a master – thank you.