March 3, 2003
MarkBernstein.org
 

The Little Friend

Yet another fine novel about a ten year-old Southern girl of spunk, imagination, and wit, Donna Tartt's long-awaited second novel shimmers with quietly fine writing. It's a long story, perhaps too long, filled with small episodes and minor characters too well drawn to cut. Because the protagonist is ten, people call this a coming-of-age story, but it's not: at the end, we still don't really know who Harriet Dufresne is going to be. That doesn't matter. She's having one hell of a summer, and we're along for the ride.