When Donna Tartt’s The Secret History appeared in 1992, the highbrow murder mystery became a much discussed best-seller. Readers hungry for more would have to wait a decade for Tartt’s second effort, the Southern Gothic tale The Little Friend—also a resounding hit. And it took her another 11 years to complete The Goldfinch, out this month (Little, Brown and Company). The novel follows the young Theo Decker, whose life takes an unexpected turn when he survives a freak accident that kills his mother. Set mainly in a shady art underworld where charming con men prey on elderly collectors and drug addicts are experts on Flemish masters, The Goldfinch, with its mingling of orphans, thieves, and high society, borders on Dickensian. But ultimately, it’s a story about how obsession can dictate the course of our lives. And to answer the all-important question: Yes, it was worth the wait.