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'The Goldfinch,' divisive literary sensation, is set to become a movie

Warner Bros. bought the film rights to Donna Tartt's Pulitzer-winning novel 'The Goldfinch.'

When Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch" was released in 2013, it became a literary sensation.

The novel has won praise from readers and critics alike, been on bestseller lists all over the world, and has won several prestigious awards, including a Pulitzer Prize.

Warner Brothers recently announced that it has bought the rights to make Tartt's third novel into a movie.

With as much attention as "Goldfinch" has received since its release, it was no surprise to hear talk of a film adaptation of the novel. According to Variety, the Warner Brothers deal has been in negotiations for several weeks.

But an adaptation won't be easy. "Goldfinch" is nearly 800 pages long, a daunting length for a film adaptation. And there will be plenty of readers to notice which parts are omitted as well. As the BBC notes, the novel stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks.

The story follows a 13-year-old boy who steals a valuable Dutch painting after he survives a terrorist attack on the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the 20-year post-traumatic aftermath he experiences.

When the book was first released, it was greeted with almost universal acclaim by critics and readers alike. However, eventually there was a second wave of backlash by critics. Vanity Fair recently pointed out in an article entitled "It’s Tartt—But Is It Art?" that several books that received similar acclaim did go on to become classics, but just as many instead faded from public memory. The book's non-inclusion on the Man Booker Prize long list last week could be an indicator of second thoughts about the novel, even though many originally thought "Goldfinch" was a safe bet to win the prize, according to the Independent. As the Monitor recently discussed, readers and critics remain divided on the quality of the book as a work of literature.

But masterwork or not, it's apparent that Warner Brothers thinks it has a potential hit on its hands.

The studio will be working with Brett Ratner's production team, RatPac Entertainment, as well as Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson's Color Force, the company that produced all four "Hunger Games" films. Brett Ratner is mostly known for directing the "Rush Hour" series, which may suggest that the studio may want a somewhat more action-heavy adaptation of "The Goldfinch."

This is not the first time a Donna Tartt novel has been up for an adaptation. The movie rights to her 1992 debut novel, "The Secret History," were optioned by Warner Bros. as well, but never materialized. The large fan base for "Goldfinch," however, have some hoping that this film could eventually see the light of day.

A release date for "The Goldfinch" movie has not been set.

Weston Williams is a Monitor contributor.

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