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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2013: It's hard to articulate just how much--and why--The Goldfinch held such power for me as a reader. Always a sucker for a good boy-and-his-mom story, I probably was taken in at first by the cruelly beautiful passages in which 13-year-old Theo Decker tells of the accident that killed his beloved mother and set his fate. But even when the scene shifts--first Theo goes to live with his schoolmate’s picture-perfect (except it isn’t) family on Park Avenue, then to Las Vegas with his father and his trashy wife, then back to a New York antiques shop--I remained mesmerized. Along with Boris, Theo’s Ukrainian high school sidekick, and Hobie, one of the most wonderfully eccentric characters in modern literature, Theo--strange, grieving, effete, alcoholic and often not close to honorable Theo--had taken root in my heart. Still, The Goldfinch is more than a 700-plus page turner about a tragic loss: it’s also a globe-spanning mystery about a painting that has gone missing, an examination of friendship, and a rumination on the nature of art and appearances. Most of all, it is a sometimes operatic, often unnerving and always moving chronicle of a certain kind of life. “Things would have turned out better if she had lived,” Theo said of his mother, fourteen years after she died. An understatement if ever there was one, but one that makes the selfish reader cry out: Oh, but then we wouldn’t have had this brilliant book! --Sara Nelson
Donna Tartt's latest novel clocks in at an unwieldy 784 pages. The story begins with an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum that kills narrator Theo Decker's beloved mother and results in his unlikely possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch. Shootouts, gangsters, pillowcases, storage lockers, and the black market for art all play parts in the ensuing life of the painting in Theo's care. With the same flair for suspense that made The Secret History (1992) such a masterpiece, The Goldfinch features the pulp of a typical bildungsroman—Theo's dissolution into teenage delinquency and climb back out, his passionate friendship with the very funny Boris, his obsession with Pippa (a girl he first encounters minutes before the explosion)—but the painting is the novel's secret heart. Theo's fate hinges on the painting, and both take on depth as it steers Theo's life. Some sentences are clunky (suddenly and meanwhile abound), metaphors are repetitive (Theo's mother is compared to birds three times in 10 pages), and plot points are overly coincidental (as if inspired by TV), but there's a bewitching urgency to the narration that's impossible to resist. Theo is magnetic, perhaps because of his well-meaning criminality. The Goldfinch is a pleasure to read; with more economy to the brushstrokes, it might have been great. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Oct. 22)See all Editorial Reviews
Riveting. It would've been easy to make Theo and Boris superficial characters, but Tartt didn't take the easy way out with them. And I really felt the respect for the painting.Published 10 hours ago by Karla Jackson
If you were to ask me what this book was about, I'd be at a bit of a loss to say. Read more
The plot is disjointed. The main character is wholly dislikable and his dissolute is not credible. The closing nihilistor soliloquy, left me unpersuaded that life is a river of... Read morePublished 16 hours ago by Michael Termini
There is a review by Jill Stevens which I think is excellent and she gave the book 3 stars --I think that is probably fair. Read morePublished 1 day ago by W. Patrick Sullivan
I put off reading this for so long, because there are so many low ratings. I am at 85% of the book, and unless it ends really badly, it does not deserve less than 5 star. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Julie K.
It started out fantastic but soon fizzled out. At page 627 I realized what a chore it became and I didn't think I would have the stamina to finish so I decided to throw in the... Read morePublished 1 day ago by MSJ
It seems challenging because it is over 700 pages, but the story is so engrossing and well written you just keep reading. I was sad when I finished.Published 1 day ago by Suzanne M.