Donna Tartt: The Goldfinch 'Took About a Decade to Write'

The revered novelist is back with a gripping coming-of-age story

MARIE CLAIRE: It's been 11 years since your last book, The Little Friend. Is there a reason why The Goldfinch (Little, Brown and Company) took so long?

DONNA TARTT: All three of my novels took about a decade to write, and that's mostly because they are big, complicated books. I think that spending so long on a book creates a richness of character and texture that's hard to fake.

MC: Readers often reference your earlier books. Is that hard to live up to?

DT: Not at all. I'm delighted that readers enjoy my earlier books and are still reading them. I particularly love getting letters from young people who say they decided to study classics because of The Secret History.

MC: Is there meaning behind The Goldfinch and The Little Friend having the same publication date of October 22?

DT: I didn't know that! But I think there's meaning behind all these odd numbers that line up. Goldfinch—the painting by Carel Fabritius that inspired the book's title—is coming to America from Holland. It never travels. The opening date of the New York exhibition? October 22.