When a small faction of right-wing extremists plant bombs inside the Met, thirteen-year-old Theo Decker survives the blast—his mother does not. Orphaned and alone, Theo shuffles from the elitist world of a wealthy friend’s family to the stark Vegas heat with his father, then back to New York and the arms of an unexpected friend. The explosion continues to rend his life, long after his mother’s death, in the form of a small painting, “a yellow finch, against a plain, pale ground, chained to a perch by its twig of an ankle,” a talisman and a curse.
This novel is a winding exploration of human wounds, a blind stumble through the dark corridors of thievery, forgery and addiction. Just when Theo can’t possibly make a more idiotic decision, or befall a more terrible hand of chance, he takes another misstep—or is pushed down another rabbit-hole—until he is finally forced to ask whether his life is a series of relentless ironies or divine acts of fate, and is there really a difference between the two?