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Synopsis

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

"The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind....Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction."--Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love--and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Ratings and Reviews

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5
(1108)
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  • 10 person found this review helpful

    10 people found this review helpful

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    The Goldfinch takes the reader through several episodes in the young life of Theo who, at the beginning of the book, loses his mother in a bomb explosion at a museum and in the process acquires a painting that accompanies him on a series of adventures. Potential readers might be wary of the book's length but the time investment is well spent. My only disappointment involved the last segment of the book in which events begin to stretch a bit too far outside of the realm of possibility. Bottom line--worth a look

  • 5 person found this review helpful

    5 people found this review helpful

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    A lesson in frustration

    I wanted to love this book, really. It was recommended to me by a friend who adored it, which was reason enough for me to want to give it a read. It took me 3 months to get through this book. 3 months! It's never taken me 3 months to do anything! The progression of the story made it very difficult to really sink my teeth into, so I found myself reading only small chunks at a time because I got bored, even though I was enjoying the story. I felt I had to press on, though, because my friend had loved it so. If it could have ended 3/4 of the way through, I think I could have forgiven the fact that the story could've been told more effectively in half the amount of words. But the last few chapters made me hate every single person involved in this book. I hated the characters. I hated the author for completely wasting the entire story that had been told with the most painful, preachy, annoying ending. I hated my friend for loving this book, and recommending it to me. I hated myself for wasting 3 months reading this book, which I walked away from without any sense of the joy or accomplishment that one should get from reading a good book, but instead with frustration and the need for a stiff drink. The first 3/4 of the book gets 3-3.5 stars. The ending gets 1. My annoyance is un-quantifiable.

  • 7 person found this review helpful

    7 people found this review helpful

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    The quickest 800 pages you'll read, this art-centric adventure is a modern, urban Huckleberry Finn, dealing with love, loss and an eye toward the past.

  • 7 person found this review helpful

    7 people found this review helpful

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    A long and winding tale. Written with in depth description of people, places and pain. The protagonist begins to to feel like a son or nephew that needs a loving hug. He loves and loses!? People come and go in his life and the only constant is the memory of his mother kept alive by the painting. He proceeds into violence attempting to retain 'The Goldfinch'

  • 5 person found this review helpful

    5 people found this review helpful

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    It seems that once an author reaches a certain level of illustriousness, they become untouchable - in the sense that the publisher doesn't dare assign an editor who will do much more than check comma usage in the manuscript. Donna Tartt writes about a novel a decade, and she seems to be in the "untouchable" category. Which is a shame, because with some substantive editing this would have been a wonderful book. The plot is intriguing and there are some wonderful characters, notably Hobie, Pippa, Boris and a delightful dog who glories in various nicknames. Our Hero, Theo, is a complex and interesting fellow, but.... There are really several books here. I've seen the term "Dickensian" used in more than one review (I didn't read them till I'd finished the book), but I don't really think it is, except in length and richness of detail. I loved the first New York section, especially the part that takes place in the museum, which is masterful and heart-breaking. Once we got to Las Vegas and the endless descriptions of casual drug use, I was chafing. Back in New York, things became interesting again. When Theo goes to Amsterdam, Tartt apparently thinks she's writing a thriller. I had no idea how she would manage to wrap up the book, and I quite liked the meditative ending. Whew! By my count, that makes five books with common characters, loosely strung together. There are many endless sentences that took several screens on my Kobo. Although this does create a certain sense of energy and motion, which I presume must have been the author's point, it also got severely on my nerves. (I'm a professional editor, among other things, and have trouble turning off that part of my brain.) Would I recommend The Goldfinch? Sort of. Most of it is a good read, and if you like to dive into thick novels you may well enjoy this one.

(1108)

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