Tartt’s third novel, The Goldfinch (2013), is the most obvious go-to read for those who have just discovered The Secret History. The novel centres on Theodore Decker, a thirteen-year-old boy from New York whose life is forever changed after he survives a terrorist attack on the Metropolitan Museum that kills his mother. As he stumbles through the debris he happens upon a small painting, which he takes with him—this painting being by none other than Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch. (This perfectly formed little artwork has found its popularity “hugely enhanced” in the wake of the book’s publication, The Guardian reports—200,000 queued to see it when it was exhibited at the Frick Collection in 2014.)
This coming-of-age novel follows Theo throughout his life observing the effects of that fateful day, transporting us to art’s seedy underworld. Like The Secret History, this book is a literary novel full of mystery, grief, and suspense.
From our article Books like The Secret History