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on December 17, 2017
I loved this book. When I started it I thought oh dear It’s so long ( I have the paperback and am way late to the party because it’s 960 pages the one I’m reading ) but by 480, midway I never wanted it to end. It’s wonderful, magical, delightful and just unafraid; it is true life and it’s beautiful. I am totally enamoured by Theo and his world. And the love for his mother makes me think of my own son and our relationship and how time marches on and yes no matter what- there’s always room for reinvention...
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on October 22, 2013
I won't go into the plot since everyone will know it. My concern whenever I'm given or purchase a very long book is, "Will it keep me engaged?" and is it worth the weeks it will take me to finish it?"

The answer with THE GOLDFINCH is "Yes!" and "Sorta!"

To me, the book is divided into sections or novellas--the explosion, living with the wealthy family, moving to Vegas, etc.

The brilliant opening section immediately kept me engaged--I think the explosion and Theo's experience and recovery is some of the best writing I've read in years.

The family he moves in with may remind you of THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS or Salinger's Glass family. They are funny, a bit tragic and sort of odd. The father especially--something about his behavior seemed a bit "off" as did his wild dialogue; it didn't seem at all "real" in a novel that's very grounded in reality. (It's revealed later why he behaves this way.)

The next--and for me, strongest novella--takes place in Las Vegas where we "live" with Theo's father and girlfriend. The writing is vivid, the characters and plot really move along and it's all terrific.

And then, for me, THE GOLDFINCH seems to stall a bit and slightly loses its way. This painting that Theo carries with him seems to be forgotten about and then every 100 pages or so is mentioned again (not that we care.)

There's a novella about dealing in art (collection and deception) and our hero takes a downward turn, but I found myself losing interest and by page 600 was growing impatient for it to end...or for the plot to kick in again as it did in the first few sections.

The great thing about this book is that you can set it aside for a few days and pick it up again and not be "lost"--the writing and characters are that strong. The "plot" on the other hand seems to grow thinner and less important as you head down the last 200 plus pages as "big issues" are thoughtfully woven in.

I'm sure this will receive many 4 and 5 star ratings, but I'm giving it a very good solid 3 since, unfortunately, it seemed to run out of gas toward the end. But those first 600 pages -- great, great stuff!
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on June 21, 2014
Raise your hand if you skimmed through the last 200-300 pages. I agree with most reviews here, terrific story with great potential that turned into a self interest philosophical meandering. I loved the beginning (although again, I thought the Theo would never get out of that museum with all the rambling) and I loved the part in Las Vegas where Theo transformed from the sweet kid with a loving mom into a lost boy of the desert. The character of Boris was a captivating diversion and so central to Theo's dark development. Hobie was so central to his good side. Once the whole fracas of the drug and art dealing ran on and on at the end I was disenchanted and disappointed that an exciting intricate story turned into a sleeping pill. Some good editing would have made this book a 5 star book easily. I loved the Secret History and it was the only book I've read twice. I was hoping this would be as well written. Hopefully Ms Tartt wll learn from her readers comments and make the next book her best yet.
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on November 24, 2013
The Goldfinch has so many beautiful moments spread throughout the book. The first 1/3 is amazing and so perfectly done. After that, you get the feeling that the writer decided to go with a stream of consciousness writing technique that rambles and meanders and all the while you have to wait for the story to begin again. The reader gets exhausted, the story tedious. And, this writing illness gets worse as the book progresses. Many long rambling passages of sheer boredom. Editing would have helped immensely because a beautiful story is buried within. I kept with it till the end and it was beautiful but I had to work hard for it...really hard.
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on July 18, 2015
Four gold stars for masterful writing, story development, character development and creating an Objective Correlative that ebbs and flows from a painted masterpiece of a goldfinch. This is a novel that requires stamina from its reader--it is quite long, and the main character, Theo,--damaged and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder--reels through his story with maddening self-destruction at every turn. The passage through his teen-age years is too long. The endless chain of bad choices and substance abuse becomes hard to take. Yet this device succeeds in raising and sustaining tension as the reader can't help but become concerned for Theo's future. This tension is mirrored and concentrated in the climax during Theo's hotel stay in Amsterdam.
"Only occasionally did I notice the chain on the finch’s ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature— fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place."

I felt the resolution was too long and needed editing. Because the writing IS so descriptive, the reader doesn't need the prolonged and unwieldy "closing arguments" to wrap up the story's meanings. Better to let the reader savor and reflect than to serve up the gist of deeper meaning through stale, rehashed leftovers.

The Goldfinch examines the interface between idealism and the harsh reality of human existence. What is the meaning of suffering, if any? Do bad/ good things happen for a reason or is Life a matter of chance and Fate? Are there "old souls," angels, and ways to gain insight into hidden, predictive patterns? Or are we pawns in a bigger picture? Are we responsible for unintended consequences or is a Life story dealt at the mercy of events, existing as flotsam and jetsam upon an ocean surface? The Goldfinch is an ambitious and worthwhile read, even if the questions posed cannot be fully known.
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on January 16, 2014
After reading the Secret History, her first novel, I was hooked on Tartt. Then followed The Little Friend and then the long wait for novel 3 The Goldfinch. It's a very long read and my only complaint was that I feel at least 50 pages could have been left out or maybe I was just tired of reading it and that is why I did not give it the 5 stars that I think it deserves. Donna Tartt digs deeply into her characters and inserts her razor sharp observations about people who get in trouble and can't find their way out. Somehow, they do. It is important to me when reading a novel to know the characters intimately, Donna Tartt provides this intimacy and you feel as though if you saw these characters in real life you would be able to pick them out of a crowd. It was worth the 8 yr. wait.
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on June 5, 2016
Do not be deterred from this book because of Amazon's low (in my opinion) rating. This is a gorgeous novel, a rare cosmic intersection of beautifully crafted words and terrific story. Its characters are timeless. The author does not skim the surface of settings and themes, but carves down into the marrow, creating a completely engrossing experience for the reader. Do yourself a favor and start this novel today.
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on March 30, 2014
This book has gotten so much attention that it almost has to disappoint. How over the top can the reviews be and remain credible? No doubt about Tartt's skill as a writer, and her ability to weave a tale with many twists and turns (see "The Little Friend"). This book is no exception. The story is compelling, the characters well-developed, but honestly I want to ask WHERE were the editors? The book is just too L-O-N-G. Too, too, too LONG. Thirty percent of this book could have and should have been cut, and we'd have had the same quality story with far fewer bumps of cocaine. I mean, we get it already. Still, this is not a book to ignore. She will win awards that she deserves, along with the prize for the needlessly overly longest book of the year.
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on May 21, 2014
This novel has some fine parts, but the characters are mostly caricatures, and not very nuanced.
The description of Greenwich Village is a few decades out of date (and I would know) -
and there's too little description of the Village itself to evoke much visualization if one doesn't know the place.
The descriptions of the Las Vegas outskirts, however, are surreal and memorable.
In fact, the Las Vegas section was my favorite part of the book.
After that, it gets repetitious (especially with illnesses) and there are far too many "chase scenes" - as if the author was consciously writing it for a film adaptation - but by the last one, I only wanted to skim it, because it was too obvious how it would turn out.
In general, this novel is overblown and over-written, and suffers from the editor having indulged the writer
instead of encouraging her to cut and be concise.
NOT a great novel, but it has its choice parts.
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on August 16, 2016
The Goldfinch is exilerating, but tries to hard to push its philosophy down your throat. I was enthralled by the plot, but put off by the long flowery narrative and incessant ranting. It is a thriller at heart trying too hard to wane philosophic. I would recommend it to friends but I would never pick it up for a second read. A good library pick, but a bad purchase.
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