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
Rambling, compelling, absorbing
Although not similar in content, it brought to mind The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, for its rich characterisation, intricacy and detail of plot and extreme differences in locale (possibly also because the bulk of both books is set in New York).
It's a toss up between Boris and Hobie.
David Pittu's performance was excellent. The characters all sounded distinct and his voice is very easy to listen to. That, added to Tartt's characterisation, created a book full of rich characters who were easy to picture.
Avid listener - when I drive, do home chores, lie in the hammock under the tree...
Honest, sensitive... characters that became so alive I feel as if I've known them for years. Brilliantly narrated.
Yes, though this is only due to Pittu's magic. The book is beautiful, with some of the passages too fleeting when read aloud, gone. I want go back and reread, hold tight the beautiful melancholy, the cold irony, the tragic truths and the beautiful illusions.
'the vivid characters' is what I remember reading on the back of the book. This sounds like a generic description, really, so I didn't expect something specific about this to stand out. And how absolutely bowled out I was by the 'vivid characters'! There is nothing generic about them, they are unique, broken, accepting their fate, fighting their fate, searching for their place in the world - they are colourful and absolutely brilliant!
David Pittu has raised narration to a new kind of art in my mind. I have never considered narration to be more than someone reading out loud, but David Pittu, his interpretations of the characters, has brought it to life in a way I could not have imagined! The many accents that he produces (Hispanic, Russian, German, smoker, old guy, lady - whatever the character needs, David Pittu produces) has been an absolute treat to listen to! My favourite was his imitation of Xandra (smokey voice, "with an 'X', not with a 'Z') - I could so clearly see this lady, her whole character, in my mind! I have only praise for David Pittu!
We Cannot Choose Our Heart
This has become my favourite book of all time, with the characters still walking around in my thoughts. I do wish to read the printed copy, as there were some beautiful passages, thought-provoking ideas, cold philosophies sinking deep into my heart, beautiful tragedies that are scattered all through the book.
This book contains all that a reader of fiction could ask for. It is beautifully written, with exquisite detail and keen observation throughout. At the same time, it is also a wonderfully satisfying story, with a carefully managed plot. Finally, the vocal performance of the reader is a marvel, with all characters clearly differentiated by accent and tone.
Struggled to finish this dark, miserable story that only got worse towards the end. Don't waste 32h listening to this prescribed depression. Sorry, I really expected something spell binding after reading other reviews. Only reason I finished it is that I don't tend to quit on books.
I loved this book so much. Although I knew the basic story line already, there were parts that seemed new to me. David Pittu does a great job with the narration and all the different accents
25YO psychologist, interested in Neuroscience, Neuropsychology and History.
Theo's life story is so dark so depressing and so filled with drama an bad life choices, that the book becomes less and less relatable for me. That being said, the performance is quite slow I listened at1,5x.
I did like the introspective parts, where theo looks at what is happening and reflects
It starts and ends OK but all in between is for no reason. Is how America discovers the meaning of life after years and years of consumerism and drug use? I am confused. Also the narration is nice but too sssssslooooooow. I listened to it at 2x speed and some times at 3x.
"Utterly gripping story"
This was one of the most enjoyable performances I listened to recently - certainly among the top 5.
The story starts with an utterly mesmerising account of a bomb explosion in a New York Museum. In that explosion, the young protagonist loses his mother but gains an artwork and a love that will haunt his life. To say more would spoil everything, but you'll be hooked from the start. The characters are fascinating, utterly believable and the plot engrossing if just this side of believable - whenever you think it couldn't get worse, it does. Much here revolves around friendship and love, greed and commitment, money and drugs, class and exclusion.
The plot and characters feel Dickensian - the motherless child, the stolen artwork, the unattainable love, an artful dodger as best friend, bad company, avuncular protectors, upper class people whom one ends up pitying…. The ending is disappointing, as if Tartt couldn't quite work out how to get her man out of the story, and the genre slides into some absurd thriller-like writing that felt rather forced. However, what comes before the final hour is absolutely worth listening to.The Goldfinch is the title of a painting whose fate is tied up with that of the protagonist, and as such this device is reminiscent of Henry James (in The Wings of the Dove or The Golden Bowl). But the writing couldn't be more unlike the prose of the later James - clear, sharp, and well-paced.
This was my first encounter with Pittu. The performance contributes much to making this book engrossing: the characters become real and the accents add so much to the characterisation. It's a wonderful achievement.
The protagonist stumbles from one loss to the next, first the mother, then his love, then his best friend, but some of these can be regained… Leaving his mother's flat behind and discovering the truth about his father is the most painful bit, and rendered very poignantly.
It's a flawed novel - the ending really wobbles - but characterisation and plotting are handled masterfully. Thoroughly enjoyable. A real storyteller or a writer.
"Outstanding Literary Fiction Read by a Maestro"
Donna Tartt's first book A Secret History and although I've never read Remembrance of Things Past by Proust, I have a feeling that there is some kind of similarity because of the detail. But the details are enthralling.
The Hero, his mentor, his best friend and the girl he loves.
A 21st century morality tale
One of my favourite books. The originality of story, the extraordinarily unusual characters coupled with the depth of insight into the human condition are breathtaking and a reading that deserves an Oscar. I didn't want it to end.
"so good and so long it becomes a part of you"
as a huge fan of the secret history but found the little friend a bit too meandering I was nervous about the goldfinch because if its length. but I needn't have worried. yes it's incredibly long but it's also so, so good. I don't know what to do now Theo is not in my life everyday!
ignore the reviews that say the main character is unlikeable but. it's true that his best friend Boris is extremely likeable and the reader portrays all the characters brilliantly. there's so much fluidity that you forget there's anything in between you and the story. almost like it's happening directly in your mind.
I enjoyed Zandra enormously and the whole time he is in Vegas is really special. I don't know what else to say other than if you want something so good that takes a long time to end then listen to this audio book!
"Not much to add, you know it's brilliant"
Marvellous book, with some truly great literary characters (although the hero frustrates at every turn). A modern day Oliver Twist meets David Copperfield with Great Expectations.
"Masterpiece. 32 hrs 23 mins. Not a second too long"
Donna Tartt is an astounding storyteller. She writes in such an understated way; no histrionics, no superfluous words and always allows the reader to feel what they want to feel without having been obviously led to that emotion.
This was part thriller, romance, mystery, gangland, family and a historical art book. What I was left with was the profound philosophy of Hobie, Boris and Theo. All so different but all wonderfully succinct.
The narrator was astonishingly good. There was not one jarring moment when any accent grated on the ear. He "sensed" Theo's state of angst so convincingly I was moved to tears on occasions and I gasped in fear, willing the main character to listen to his inner good sense.
If Donna Tartt waits another eleven years before publishing a book - that is fine by me. I am sure it will be worth my patience.
"A month of bliss to listen to."
This is by far the longest audio book I have ever listened to - 32 hours BUT superbly narrated and the most captivating story. I think one gains enormously by listening to this book rather than reading it. Firstly it is a big book to carry around - 700+ pages and some reviewers have commented that the key Russian character Boris's dialect is difficult to read easily. Well, in the audible version to get to meet Boris in all his glory - splendid. My next door neighbour is Russian so I can that David Pittu is spot on! This is a wonderful, wonderful book.
Shorten it, there were so e parts of the book that went on and on for to long
Not to get messed up on drugs.
Enjoyed the actual story it was just much to long and parts like his life in Vegas were very repetitive and I kept waiting for more to happen to him whilst he was there. Didn't like the ending much, it suddenly seemed rushed after such a long time getting there. Did love the narration .
"Extremely slow and laborious story telling"
Whilst the story itself is not uninteresting, all the events unfold so slowly and with such lengthy narrative that I found myself continually saying from frustration: "Get on with it!" In the end I found I had little sympathy, or indeed any patience for Theo, the main character. I don't mind a long story, but what felt like the endless narrative took away from the plot and by about half way through it wasn't difficult to determine where the plot was leading.
The secondary characters and their stories are well created and interesting. Unfortunately they weren't enough though.
"Oh for God's sake, woman. Get to the POINT!"
I spent many a happy hour trying to work out which Dickens character she is using at any given point (warning--it can be a couple of them at the same time) .
The bus journey from Nevada to New York, smuggling a forbidden passenger (a small dog) in a bag.
This is the first reading by Pittu that I have heard. He did well considering all the voices involved, but failed pretty badly with the character of Boris who, born in Ukraine, had spent several years in an Australian environment as a child. The narrator describes him as speaking good English but with a strange combination of accents--"Russian" but mixed with some Australian. Pittu made no attempt to put the Australian in and the boy in his early teens was given a slavic accent which remained every bit as strong even after he had grown up to adulthood in the US. You'd think at least the edges would have worn off by then.
Considering its length, one sitting would have been possible only if I had no family, no life and was hooked up to an intravenous coffee drip and a urinary catheter.
The book could have been about half the length without any loss of plot or punch. It was a good story and well populated by interesting people. The younger Theo is very well represented and Tartt gives us some thought-provoking insights into the world of an adolescent boy growing up in difficult, chaotic circumstances. Although in my opinion we can thank Dickens for the templates, particularly of the more eccentric characters and the style which involves a lot of unlikely, fortunate co-incidences and convenient legacies, there is nothing wrong with bringing a winning formula up to date.
I remain quite annoyed with Tartt, though, for killing Steerforth's brother instead of Steerforth himself.
"Overly long, saved by good narration"
Donna Tartt is a fine writer but desperately needs a strong editor to temper her enthusiasm for sheer length. This book should surely have been no more than 20 hours rather than 32 hours. To be clear, I do NOT mean it should be abridged – I mean it should have been more accurately focussed in the first place, before publication. Maintaining my attention was a problem at many points, most especially towards the end, when my own enthusiasm was waning! It says something that I did stick with it, but any joy in listening to this novel had been long lost by the time it finally got to the end.
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