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Showing 1-10 of 21,111 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 25,400 reviews
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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on February 1, 2016
I think that maybe 300 pages could be cut from this book (where was the editor?). I found it indulged in Theo's pain and suffering that could easily have been much shorter yet still gotten the point across well. I almost stopped reading the long section of torment (150 pages!) after the explosion but soldiered on because it was our book club choice. In fact there were too many times I wanted to stop, I don't want read so much negativity(one of my book club friends did stop reading early on, finding it too depressing). In some sections I scanned over the tedious descriptions of Theo's descents into despair and suffering.

In Las Vegas Theo's Ukrainian friend Boris enters, who I liked for his heart, enthusiasm and ability to see good in Theo's father, but the alcohol, drug abuse and theft was too much too long and detailed, and needed editing. Theo, who was obsessive in his suffering, fear about the painting, and love of Pippa, was mostly a downer for me, especially how he took advantage of Hobie who sheltered, loved and trusted him. I didn't like him and found it hard to care about what happened to him - he never seemed to learn from his misfortunes. Boris brushed off the abuse and neglect of his father while Theo dove into and wallowed in his misfortunes.

Some (not all) of the writing about art and antiques, Hobie's restoration work and descriptions of places was really excellent, creating vivid visual pictures. The characters of Hobie and Boris were well drawn, but much of it was tedious, banal and boring. It felt contrived when it got philosophical at the end and hit bottom with his conclusion that "life is a catastrophe".
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on July 28, 2017
I liked the book in the beginning and thought it had great promise and interesting premise, but got bored with it and really didn't like the way it developed in the last sections. It almost wanted the reader to believe Boris was some kind of hero and I just could not buy that.

This book has been reviewed so much that I have little to add except three things:

(1) Too many pages devoted to the Los Vegas episode where Theo and Boris sank into drugs and alcohol abuse.
(2) I absolutely hated Boris -- we have all known characters like him and it never ends well.
(3) Didn't like either Kitsey or Pippa as love interests, although Pippa would have been a better choice IF Theo could EVER make up his miind. about anything.
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on December 20, 2014
I'm reading this for book club, otherwise, I would have given up on it in about 10% of the way in. It is long and rambling. The writing is grammatically correct, clear, but artless. And without art, the long descriptions are nothing more than mundane details. Do you have friend who recounts their day in excruciating, mindless detail? Well, this is like talking to that friend. Regarding the character: there is nothing that attracts me to the main character, nothing. I'm mildly interested in some of the other characters, but he author provides no interesting insights to draw me in. It is like looking at the surface of the ocean. You know there are really interesting things on that coral reef, but you can't see them. I'm mildly interested in how this is all going to turn out, but I'm not cheering for any particularly outcome. I'm about 2/3s in now--not sure I am going to make it because my brain keeps falling asleep while reading it.
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on February 20, 2014
This site certainly doesn't need another review to add to the over 7,000 already here. I won't add much to the discourse, but I'm doing this for my own satisfaction and to write down my thoughts about this book that can be both awesome and awful.

Donna Tartt is at times a brilliant writer and a masterful wordsmith. But she reminds me of a Grammy-winning jazz trombonist that I saw at a club once. He was an amazing technician and could coax more notes and different sounds out of the trombone than anyone I had ever heard. And while I could certainly appreciate his technical abilities and marvel at the otherwordly sounds he could create with the instrument, in the end the performance was not satisfying. I was looking for some semblance of a melody and artistry at least somewhat pleasant to the ear, but what I got was a cacophanous display of technical ability.

Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. And Donna Tartt proves it with The Goldfinch. No matter how skillfully she writes about Theo's drug-fueled escapades in Las Vegas, we are so tired of hearing about them after a while. And regardless of how well she conveys all of the things going through his mind while holed up in a hotel in Amsterdam, we just don't care at some point.

I understand the tendency of a good writer to do more of what she does well. What I don't understand is the writer's conceit in not recognizing and overcoming that tendency. While I see this as a serious fault in a writer, I find it unforgivable in an editor. Both of them are guilty of taking a 500 page great book and turning it into an 800 page good book.
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on August 12, 2014
Having enjoyed Ms. Tartt’s earlier work (especially “The Secret History”), I feel let down by “The Goldfinch.” Far too much philosophizing, a lot of repetitiveness, and far, far, too much of Boris, who must be up there among the leading contenders for the all-time grand prize of boring, unconvincing fictional creations. A coincidental meeting on a New York street, and it’s Boris. The unexpected knock on the hotel room door, and, yes, it’s Boris. The novel starts brilliantly. The whole sequence of the terror attack on the museum, the hour-long friendship with the dying Welty, Pippa, Theo’s relationship with his Mom, the slow discovery of her death, the Barbours… all this is wonderful. Even Vegas, with Dad and nasty girlfriend, is entertaining enough at the beginning, but that’s when Boris first comes along, and all bets for sustaining a good, or even great, novel, are off. Most of the Amsterdam sequences over the last 100 pages or so of the book are just plain silly as well as unbelievable.
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on September 27, 2014
I only bought this because of all the amazing reviews and awards. I should have learned by now, but I suppose I'm still influenced by the opinion of the masses. Like others have said, this book started off strong and emotional but quickly became tedious and, frankly, boring. I can't say I skipped entire pages. I did skip many many paragraphs in the last 200 pages just to be done with it though. My god, I had to force myself not to skip the last few paragraphs. I kept drifting off.

I suppose my biggest complaint would be that there seemed to be no point to the story. No redemption, no lessons, no morals of the story. After what I can only suppose would be considered the climax of the story (trying to keep it spoiler free, so I'll just say when he returns to NYC), I expected something...anything interesting to happen, but nope. From the 3rd sentence of the summary: "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." I guess I selfishly anticipated those things to play out in a suspenseful way throughout the entire book.

Also, I'll say this. If you had a bad father, you'd be able to identify with (I'm not exaggerating here) 99% of the characters. I would be shocked if Donna Tartt had a decent father.
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on March 15, 2017
It is too hard to describe this novel in one or even a few words. While the overall mood is dark, even disturbingly dark at times, when it all comes round Tartt has made me think, sink, see, and above all, feel. It is a real gift to be so descriptive the reader is there...seeing, smelling, screaming. I've never read a book this long, but I am grateful I hung in there to the end. Had I not, I would not have read, "For only by stepping into the middle zone, the polychrome edge between truth and untruth, is it tolerable to be here."
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on April 12, 2015
I can't help but to feel sorry for Theo. What a truly staggering amount of events and tragedies infused his life with unreliable and or incapable forces constantly perpetuating the PTSD he was obviously experiencing for many years. It's a real wonder that he had any sense of morality at all.
All together a interesting and moving read. Many places in the story spoke as to the connection between his perceptions of outside things and how they reflected his own situation and or personality The one thing that when I read it and knew he was referring to the Goldfinch but it was so obviously a statement about himself is when he stated, "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." It so accurately described his life after his mother's death.
When the story ended I still felt unsettled about where Theo was but at least there seemed to be hope. A metaphorical releasing of the bird.
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on January 21, 2015
First: I am awed by how many times I underlined a phrase that was so pithy that I could not read on for a time. I want to think that Tartt spent every minute of that 10 yrs improving this and eliminating that( Although, she didnt eliminate much!). What an accomplishment! I was enthralled with the romantic leads: Pippa, Hobie, Mom, Mrs. Barber and all their story lines peccadillos and obsessions. I can say: This is a quality read.
But more than half the book was murder and mayhem, drugs and despair, loneliness and not belonging. The long passages of self hate and the attempts right to the unbitter end to show us the meaning of our existence. I have to call Bulls*** on all that drama and melodrama. Too much Too much Too much
I am a slow reader. I never skip though passages. I did with this book. Too much Boris, too many drunken drug addled rambling scenes. Perhaps they replicate the EXACT feeling one gets under the influence. Those addicted will have to attest to that. I'm not a prude but I didnt enjoy the sheer quantity of depression I was asked sit through.
I think I agree with those that say this belongs in YA. I think I disagree with those that say Pulitzer.
All the same, there are many phrases I wont soon forget and considering passages skipped-well worth my time.
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