Winner of the Pulitzer Prize For Fiction 2014
Longlisted – Baileys Women’s Prize 2014
Audie Award Finalist, Literary Fiction, 2013
Aged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.
As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph - a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.
©2013 Tay Ltd (P)2013 Hachette Audio
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"A long book for a short story!!!"
What an incredibly long book for a short story. I find it very difficult to give up a story, even those that are tedious and dull. This book had the beginnings of what was possibly a good and exciting tale, but just became dulled by the unnecessary clap trap that went on around it. A story of a young boy traumatised by his mother’s horrific death and a stolen painting and how his life became effected thereafter by the actions of his drunken father and pretend step mother (and various other influences along the way). I found the story dull and felt it could have been much shorter because there wasn’t any substance to it at all. The end was depressing and I was pretty glad when it finished so that I could look for a more exciting book to take its place. Wouldn’t take anything away from the reader David Pittu, as it was read well. Take on board a few other reviews before decided as this might be your sort of thing. Certainly wasn’t mine.
"Fabulous reader!! Beautifully written!"
This is by far one of the best books I have listened in a long time. My husband and I were transfixed for the whole car journey from Oslo to Bordeaux - and back! The story was gripping from page one - although I could have done with less of the drugs section. The reader however was so outstanding that he carried you through it.
I cannot praise enough David Pittu's delivery of this story. His range of voices was superb - and I am not American, so often find some of the American readers less than relaxing to listen to. This reading however was a work of art in itself. I have a clear picture in my mind's eye of all the characters, and the places, the Park Avenue flat, the antique shop, Vegas. The emotional relief one feels as soon as you hear Hobie's mellifluous, avuncular tones, or the tension of life with his father and his girlfriend. The writing has earned much well-deserved praise, but an 'Audible' book is lost or won by its reader, and this one is a prize winner.
"An epic tornado of a tale"
Wrenching, convoluted, memorable
The involving nature of it. Theo's world became my world for the hours of the book, the light east coast voice, the language and most of all the characters. From Theo's doormen to Boris' henchmen- all knowable and charming...
I loved the awkwardness of Andy's family and the multicoloured wildness of feral teenagers in Las Vagas
An epic tale of a journey lit by a ray of ancient sunlight
The heavy and obvious symbolism of the ending was the least satisfactory part of the book - added little but it was the whole journey that mattered, not the last few lines. Oh and 'Robin's egg blue', the emphasis should be on 'Robin's' not 'egg'! -he only said it once but it jarred!
"An American classic?"
I read The Secret History when it first came out and I was in my '20s. This is the third Donna Tartt novel but only the second I have read. The first made a huge impression and the third has done a similar job. I cannot say I enjoyed all of it; the last 30 minutes struck me as pretentious and unnecessary. The long expositions of drug-taking left me despairing and cold. But the fact is I stuck with it, and felt that I was listening to something of the quality of Dostoyevsky or Dickens. By the way, it is superbly read. This is not American pulp, it is an American classic. It is hard, thoughtful stuff. It is ambitious in scope and scale, touching things that I have experienced in my life since that first novel; about what the hell we are here for and why we should do right as opposed to just what seems expedient; how people who seem bad are just flawed people doing what they think is right or expedient. How chance throws us a bum deal which we struggle to come to terms with. I do not think it always works; sometimes I was bored. Maybe if I had been more distracted I would have given up, but I stuck with it and I am glad I did.
I read her first novel in my '20s and it affected me deeply, although I found it hard going. I read this as I turn 50. I found it hard going, but it affected me deeply.
"A flawed masterpiece"
A flawed masterpiece
Probably Hobie, for his generosity, wisdom and his humanity
Many, see below
I adored Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” and have been waiting for her to finish another novel for years. “The Goldfinch” was published late last year and I bought it from Audible rather than reading it on my Kindle. Thought it would make an admirable companion for knitting, and this gutsy, rich, Dickensian novel (and, yes, it owes a lot to “Great Expectations”) that covers so much ground and brims with memorable characters is unforgettable. Not that it is without its faults, I tired of the descriptions of endless teenage drug and alcohol binges in the central section that is set in the sandy wastelands of suburban Las Vegas with its empty MacMansions and empty, gambling addicted souls. And I didn’t much care for the central character Theo, who makes so many bad choices throughout this 700 page epic that I wanted to reach through the ether and give him a bloody good shake, but then he loves his dog, so he couldn’t have been all bad.
The story opens with the aforementioned Theo as a young boy who survives a terrorist bombing in a museum ( a thinly disguised New York Metropolitan) and escapes with a valuable painting which becomes his albatross for the rest of the novel. This opening section is exquisitely written, Tartt’s command of the English language laid bare for the reader/listener to admire. This book covers art and history, music, philosophy, crack, drugs and Russian drug dealers (too much detail for my taste), Proust, the loyalty of one small, scruffy white dog, woodwork and the restoration of antiques, the very rich, mental illness, and the bonds that join people forever. My favourite character is Hobie, who is more of a father figure to the adolescent and adult Theo than his biological father could ever be, but I also was captivated by his teenage fellow experimenter in all things forbidden, the multi-layered Boris. There probably are real people out there who are just like Boris, but he does come across as a stereotypical composite of all things Slavic, hard-drinking, brutal, drug-dealer, underworld connections etc etc. but he is also a genius, has a predilection for reading and quoting Dostoevsky, speaks and swears in several languages fluently, has a heart of gold (well, for those he loves anyway) and an amazing liver.
There are no short-cuts in this novel, nothing is two-dimensional. However, I do believe that it would have benefitted from an editorial blue pen, especially in the middle section. If you do stick with it, and opinion seems divided about whether that is worth it or not, I guarantee you won’t forget this book. Tartt’s prose moves from being heart-stoppingly beautiful, certain phrases made me catch my breath and rewind just to hear them again ,while other sections were stultifying, boring and just badly written.
The narration was superb.
"what a story, life lived to the full."
A very large book, finding time to read is difficult. I do A LOT of driving so this book was perfect!
boris, so naughty.
the exposition at the beginning was gripping.
When theo realised just how useless his dad was.
"Like watching a runaway train...."
Loved this book. Not my typical genre, but selected by my bookclub....but while they might all be reading it, I opted for the audio version! Brilliant.
On paper, the story plot itself appears quite straightforward, and in the interests of avoiding spoilers, I won't elaborate. However, it's the characters and their emotions that bring this book to life. Watching Theo, and the tragedy of his life unfold, exacerbated by some of the decisions he makes....it's like watching a runaway train gathering momentum, and there's nothing you can do to stop it as it surely rushes towards a disastrous end.
The characters are all richly developed, and the plot seamless.
A hugely satisfying book, in every way. I didn't want this book to end ......I needed to know about the next 20+ years of all their lives....
The narration is excellent, with wonderfully distinct and appropriate voices for the characters.
"Time I'll Never Get Back"
I've listened to great books, badly narrated and terrible books well narrated. This without doubt falls into the latter. It could be condensed and maybe improved but I would urge listeners to avoid being taken in by the hype surrounding it. Subjective obviously, but for me it's dire. It's tedious. Boring. Pessimistic. Depressing, self-indulgent, rambling and waaaaaay too long. The 'story', which could've been quite promising, really becomes consumed by the main character's drunken, drug fuelled binges and the vomit inducing after-effects, which include his paranoiac insecurities about.....what was it again? .....oh yes.....it's in the title of this book, the freakin painting!! Seriously bored by it and frankly totally disinterested in the subsequent meaningless, depressing rambling 'writing'. Redeeming characters were the antique dealers. Narration and accents were very good, but in case you hadn't guessed I HATED this book and wouldn't recommend it. Should come with a government health warning!
"Beware - good but not THAT good"
Like most "everyone's reading it" books, the hype is normally greater than the story. Although GOOD, it's not THAT good. The story is very, very slow and some of the scenes seem to go into infuriating details which could have been summarised in 2 sentences. Kept thinking there must be some point to some of the detail which stops the progress, but by the end, realised there wasn't.
Read, so you can say you've read it... but there are some much better books out there which you should have higher on your wish list!
It is a truly remarkable story, spanning two decades of a young man's turbulent life.
Despite the sad experiences the main character has and the mistakes he makes, he still maintains his basic goodness which makes him very likeable.
When he returns the ring to it's owner's partner.
Made me think.
Best book I have listened to in a long time - highly recommended!
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