A QUICK DONNA TARTT/NYC PIZZA METAPHOR:
The Secret History is the literary equivalent of a slice of white pizza from the Sal’s pizzeria down the street that you eat at 1am after a night out and you’re starving and it’s just the right temperature and not too greasy. Ahhh. Perfect.
The Goldfinch is a pizza from Grimaldi’s for which you’ve stood on line for two hours. You finally get the pie and you devour it because you are so hungry and the anticipation is so great. And it is delicious, indeed! But it’s maybe a little burnt. Still an A+ pizza-eating experience, but not quite as special as the one from Sal’s.