I want to start this discussion by saying I generally loved this novel. I can easily see why it won the Pulitzer Prize. It's complex, and intriguing, with interesting characters that are relatable but also just bizarre enough to add something to the story. The main character, Theo, is the most "normal", I would say. While his life is infused with tragedy, he still keeps his head for most of the book. He still ends up dealing with most things any young adult deals with. Bully's, unrequited love, laziness in school, and you know, a stolen painting worth millions of dollars. The only difference between his art-theft and your typical black market stolen paintings, is that in his situation, stealing the Goldfinch sounds perfectly reasonable, and would have probably been very acceptable by authorities had he turned it in right away. I mean, if I were in a museum in 8th grade and bombs went off, I would have probably tried to save my lost mother's favorite painting as well. It's understandable, but that wouldn't make a good story.
It's also in the plot structuring that Tartt hooks you. She begins the story with a foreshadowing flash-forward. Theo is a grown man hiding out in Amsterdam, for reasons unknown to the reader. All that you know is that he's done something bad enough for international newspapers to be reporting on him. This opener stays with you throughout the entire book until the story catches up to where we started, and the situation reveals itself. I was asking myself the whole time, "is this why he's hiding in the beginning of the book, or did he do something else?". Another intriguing question that the author presents is what's Boris's roll in all of this. Theo mentions when he leaves Boris initially that it's not the last time he see's him, which leaves the reader waiting for him to just pop up later on in the story. Of course, Boris's part make sense towards the end, being that he is an excellent thief, but his presence is another way the author reels you in.
The book is lengthy, and without these questions presented, I probably wouldn't have finished it. Certain parts could have been shortened, but for me, I read through it easily enough. Goldfinch is a winner, and I'm sure it will be a classic for years to come. Go get yourself a copy and start reading!