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Showing 1-10 of 21,056 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 25,326 reviews
on February 23, 2014
I wanted to love this book so badly.

**beware of spoilers ahead**

I loved The Goldfinch up until Theo went to Vegas. From that point on I steadily began losing sympathy. The premise is fascinating, the description of the destruction, his emotional devastation, the aftermath of a horrible tragedy - all this was riveting. However, the further Theo sunk into a drug/alcohol induced haze, the more I began wishing that someone would just find the friggin' painting and put us all out of our misery. It's not that I don't understand why he took a downturn, he had ample reason to escape into addiction - it's more that Tartt makes him so unlikable. He spends the Vegas years waking up in a puddle of vomit. At times I could smell him through the pages, while that means that the writing is amazing, it also turns my stomach.

Theo becomes even more unsympathetic as he returns to New York, floating through school, wallowing in a bag of pills, wasting opportunity after opportunity. Again, not that I don't understand the whys of the situation, but at this point, I just didn't care. The thing that makes literary protagonists interesting (in my humble opinion anyhow) is that they have a special something, a spark, a quirk, a something that sets them apart from reality. Theo has none of this, he is exceedingly average, unlikable and unsympathetic. The imagined smell of vomit was replaced with cigarettes, and he remained a broken, self-destructive slug.

It's during the early chapters of Theo's return to New York that I wanted to transport myself into the book, call the cops, tell them about the painting and end the whole thing. However, I kept on reading, I believed that there was going to be some kind of amazing twist that was going to make the whole journey worth it.

Boris. Where do I start with Boris? Boris' overly complicated lineage, his entirely absurd network of connections and impeccably impossible timing make him into a caricature rather than an actual living, breathing character. The fact that he stole the painting made no sense to me, and maybe this is because I don't understand the whole black market underground art trade, however, what did Boris think he was going to do with it?

The entire story is riddled with false moments of suspense. While I loved Popper the dog, the poor creature was used as a tool to create more false moments of anxiety than the actual Goldfinch painting itself. I spend the entire book thinking there was going to be some reason for Popper's inclusion in this story, and while I love a dog as much as the next person, I never found that reason.

Overall, I have to give two stars because I loved the first part of this story. As Theo dissolved into a pit of vomit and vodka, I waited for something to happen that would redeem him and this story. Never happened. I will say this, the writing is impeccable, it's just the story construction that left me empty.
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on December 9, 2014
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Just gave up a losing battle with a Goldfinch, a sophomoric, overblown tour de force that never gets entirely off the ground, or really makes a point. It rambles, through endless corridors, arriving nowhere. Originality is difficult, no doubt about it, but quality is also a factor, and good writing, like good art, unless your knowledge, experience and instincts guide you, is virtually unattainable. Author Donna Tartt has been tagged as "Dickensian" but I think someone influential made the pitch and others jumped on the bandwagon, for a free ride. We might also detect shades of Ian Fleming, or Dan Brown or even Tolstoy, but their novels move and flow and in the end hold up. In all truth, regardless, this book is boring. More than Dickens and his garbage-strewn Victorianism, it would like to be "Shantaram" but never even grazes the surface, despite a showy writing style, which dazzles, then hits a clunker, or like its characters, who aspire to something memorable and end as very Americanized clichés. Even the art is treated in worn-out terms, not as the product of pain and inspiration, but as property, to be valued. So does the cost confirm the worth? Not even remotely.
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on March 24, 2017
I love the art and beauty of the way this author paints the written page. She is amazing! The story is like train wreck,scary and bloody and awesome but you cannot look away. I read this huge book in 48 hours.
I am sure I will think of it for a long to time. Right now it is a train wreck that I am reeling fro but after some time I am sure in my mind it will be a work of art. It would make a great movie if Hollywood would do it justice and not butcher it. I am going tone thinking about this one a lot and trying to understand the message in this story. This one will absolutely stay with me for awhile. This girl can really write.
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on March 5, 2017
This is the best novel I've read in at least the last 10 years. Will be one of the best overall until now and after. The plot is genius. The characters are perfect. Questions; death, life, love are articulated with such refined literary talent and sophistication that you want to read them over and over again. You feel so close to the characters that they don't leave you even when you are done reading. I constantly felt the wish to talk about them and their choices. The Goldfinch with everything it symbolizes is at the crux and heart of the book. Its power is consuming. New York, its museums, antique shops, elites, marginals, terror attacks, underground dealings are so skillfully meshed together like in a dream yet so real. Goldfinch describes a nihilistic world in which you still want to exist. It hints the way to timeless and spaceless connections.
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on June 7, 2014
This Pulitzer Prize winner did not disappoint. It is one of my all time favorites. I was immediately taken with the author's ability to "paint" volumes. Quite literally, I've never quite experienced the sensation of volume in the spaces depicted in this book in any other book I've read, whether it be city street, imposing museum or desert. I will be re-reading it to study just how Tartt did that. It's also a love story - that of a son for his mother - more touchingly told in word and story than I can ever recall. True, the son often sees and describes things as a woman would see and describe them, but give the author poetic license on that for the richness it brings to the novel. The main character will frustrate you with his poor judgment and choices in life. I believe Tartt exaggerates this to illustrate the ill effects on a child who is growing up without a close parent, until he connects with the nearly perfect surrogate (and one of the most likable characters in the book). Still, he falls prey to nearly every temptation available to contemporary youth. And even in this relationship, he is nearly beyond redemption due to various twists of fate, and tosses roughly about in his unique, stormy world like a ship in a hurricane. Or, like someone who experiences a bomb in a museum filled with precious but unsavable treasure.
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on January 9, 2017
I was very disappointed with this novel, especially because so many friends had recommended it. I found the first third of the story very engaging, and I sympathized with this 13-year-old boy who was left alone to find answers to difficult questions about his place in the world. But then the story became cluttered with many characters, some of whom were unbelievable and unnecessary. Additionally, the story was bogged down in repetition. I found myself thinking, "OK. I get it. Now can we get on with it." Las Vegas ad nauseoum; drug stupors ad nauseum; Boris and his cronies ad nauseum. After a year of picking the book up and then putting it aside for a while (at least 6 times), I finally managed to finish it. Even in ending the novel, the author couldn't leave well enough alone but felt compelled to tie up all the loose ends in a very cliche manner. On a positive note, the author is a master of detail and description, and uses language artfully. I enjoyed her writing style, but wish she had cut 200 pages from the book.
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on January 20, 2017
If you've ever loved and lost. If you've ever experienced tragedy. If you've ever wondered why you are here. If you've ever had deep dark questions or feelings you would never tell anyone. This book is for you. It's long but read it till the end it's worth it.
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on July 12, 2014
This book has some great descriptions and conversations, but it rambles and repeats things over and over again. The end of the book almost becomes stream of consciousness writing that may have been fun for the author, but very painful for the reader.
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on January 30, 2015
This book needed serious editing. First part was tiresome, repeating same scenario. There's no character development to speak of. The painting seems to have no role until the very end. there's no sense of what this painting ever meant to the main character and not until the very end does the author spend a whole chapter telling us what the book is about, an existential coming to terms with life. There's no epiphany for the main character and he doesn't seem to develop at all until the very last chapter and then it's all thrown in there. Even in the midst of Tartt's lecture to her "non reader", she goes off for a bit to throw in once again another character's drug use and then back to the lecture. I made myself finish the book but Pulitzer prize? And I don't buy the Dickensonian comparison. This is not about social classes as some claim and nothing of Dickens--his language, his characters (who do evolve and change) or his tight plots--can be found in this book. I really wanted to like it. I was disappointed.
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on January 23, 2014
Exhausted and unsatisfied when I finished. Disappointed in life view of protagonist and his inability to escape the impact of his early trauma and DNA. Yet, this book kept you moving forward with the hope of resolution on many levels and several of the characters are enduring.
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