The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) Paperback – April 7, 2015
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"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, New York Times Book Review
"The Goldfinch is a book about art in all its forms, and right from the start we remember why we enjoy Donna Tartt so much: the humming plot and elegant prose; the living, breathing characters; the perfectly captured settings....Joy and sorrow exist in the same breath, and by the end The Goldfinch hangs in our stolen heart."―Vanity Fair
"There's a bewitching urgency to the narration that's impossible to resist. Theo is magnetic...The Goldfinch is a pleasure to read."―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
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So I sat there, my mind designing this foster of a thought while I laid comfortably on the grey, semi-soft couch I bought once on sale on a Tuesday evening at a Rooms-to-Go, realizing that my life had taken a turn for, quite possibly, the worst, and wondering if I would ever reach the long-crying light at the end of the tunnel that is this pretentious book.
See- that was MISERABLE to read. Don't do that. I'm sorry I did that. You've actually got to get to the point sometimes. Plus, I got halfway through and I felt as if nothing happened. I understand that this is a "realistic" book and may even be an eye-opener for some, but I just found the story profoundly boring, or dare I say it, lame. She could have composed a much more compelling story with such an interesting background and plot. After all, it is the plot that attracted us all in the first place, isn't it? I'm sorry to say that this book is overrated and like I said, pretentious.
The writing is superb, cannot understand the complaints, this is literature at it's best. It's not meant to be a fast read, take it slowly, yes it's a long book, so what, it's virtually three books for the price of one. It's a hard story, showing us that the affects of terrorism on those that are involved and those that lose loved ones. It also opens our minds to the fact that there is both good and evil in all of us and cowardice and bravery. The characters in the story are the best portrayals that I have read for years. Miss Tartt doesn't churn books out one after the other as so many authors, they are gems, to be read and not forgotten. I sincerely hope that this becomes a modern classic because it certainly deserves it.
Top international reviews
A modern story which starts minutely detailed and vividly seen by the author, so we see it too, the nuances of the Barbour family life, parents and four children, of whom Andy is Theo’s friend, a “white mouse” with a “wan, irritating voice” who has a hilarious line of repartee with his father who is eternally trying to interest his indifferent children in sailing.
Other stand-out characters are Hobie who befriends Theo, and Boris, Theo’s wild, unpredictable friend who runs wild with him in Las Vegas. A few sentences and we have them, a real person, fixed, Mr Silver the debt collector, the doormen.
If only the book had been a quarter or even a third shorter. After the words “eight years later” things change, as if the author is tired of her creations and gallops through the rest, impossibly convoluted and contrived plot and all the Dickensian/J K Rowling characters we have come to love becoming caricatures, less true and solid. Pippa, always vague, slips away completely, and even Boris’s English, so funny to start with, become cartoon-like.
There are themes and metaphors bursting out all over, meandering, fathers and sons, abandonment, the pointlessness or otherwise of life struggles etc etc, and of course acres about ART and the meaning of the painting of the goldfinch, which is, after all, a painting of a bird chained up.
To paraphrase Kingsley Amis on his son's writing style, there need to be more sentences like, "They finished their drinks and left the room." In this case, "I took the lift to the seventh floor" would (more than) suffice. This overly writerly prose is just too much for me, and it felt as if the book were being padded for length. So I finish my drink and leave the room.
Consider it dealt with. It is a horrid book. It was not lost on me, either, that the Southern woman who wrote it affects a sort of 1960s NYC ennui in her photo pose. From now on, I shall look at author head shots to see if I'm in for something from a poseur or from an actual writer before I click BUY.
This is a great book if not a modern classic. A little like ‘Catcher in the Rye’ on speed - quite literally! It is a gripping story of a young man’s journey in the context of the joys, sorrows and love that life presents. The characterisation is beautiful and of a ‘Dickensian’ precision and quality. Equally, the wonderful plot sequences - described with vivid prose - reminded me of ‘Great Expectations’ but were more believable. I would admit that it may not appeal to everybody but for me, as a reading experience I cannot praise it too highly.
Written in the 1st person we follow Theo on quite a jaded journey of loss and heartache from a junior teenager, loosing his mother in an explosion at a New York art gallery. The story centred on the disappearance of a period painting from the gallery The Goldfinch!
Theo’s life is followed for about a decade after the tragedy, in which, he is cared for by his wealthy East Coast friends the Barbour’s and he befriends the old furniture maker the reclusive Hobie. However Theo’s background is complex, son of a bohemian, cultured and pretty mother, to a drinking gambling father, he’s from humble working class stock. He meets up with and befriends the wild Boris of Eastern European heritage, in the second part of the story. Boris’s character seemed to elevate the story to new heights with his promiscuity and life experience of the forward junior teen as Boris takes Theo to new daring territories contrasting to the society life of the Barbour’s! In the las Vegas section of the book we learn about Theo’s life with his temperamental father and his colourful stepmother Xandra , this does lead the way to Theo’s future traits ! . From Theo’s association with the East Coast gentry to being involved in the Eastern European gangland underworld as he remained in a dark place , drink and drug addiction fuelled his demons and his constant grieve at the loss of his mother at an early age, then the loss of his father
I found the Goldfinch an engaging yet overrated read after reading Donna Tartts Secret History and The Little Friend.
All in all a compulsive read from a great American author, however Dickens she is not! I found the over descriptive prose somewhat suffocated the plot! With too much of Theo’s streams of consciousness, I also found unanswered questions at the novels rather disappointing close. Two hundred pages could easily have been lost!
Out of the three of her novels I have found The Goldfinch the best and most gripping.
To sum up it is a book worth reading, with an interesting storyline.