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The Goldfinch

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (106 )
5 star
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3 star
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4.3 (97 )
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4.6 (98 )
5 star
 (67)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kate 05-16-14
    Kate 05-16-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Extraordinary story of boy's journey to adulthood"
    If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

    Different, gripping journey. Don't let the length put you off.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The relationship between Theo and Boris


    Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

    Boris


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susannah Adelaide, Australia 05-13-14
    Susannah Adelaide, Australia 05-13-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    16
    16
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    "BEST. AUDIOBOOK. EVER."
    What did you love best about The Goldfinch?

    Everything. The narrator is wonderful. The characters are 'alive' ... the story believable.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Boris. I am in love with Boris.


    Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

    Boris! (see above)
    But also loved Theo and Hobie. Even the awful characters are made interesting and likeable in a way...


    If you could rename The Goldfinch, what would you call it?

    The Goldfinch. This is actually a book with a name that is really suited to it.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't hesitate to listen to this book...it is 32 hours of your life you will not regret!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josee Marrickville, Australie 04-05-14
    Josee Marrickville, Australie 04-05-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Finest novel I have read or heard for years"
    If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

    exquisite, beautiful writing


    What did you like best about this story?

    the fine understanding of the ache of being a human being


    Have you listened to any of David Pittu’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no, but intend to


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    many moments


    Any additional comments?

    very well read by David Pittu, very good and sustained voice characterisation of different characters

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V NZ 03-27-14
    V NZ 03-27-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant!"
    If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

    Clever, thoughtful, compelling


    What did you like best about this story?

    I couldn't say


    Which scene was your favorite?

    So many great scenes. But perhaps the final one.


    If you could take any character from The Goldfinch out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Hobie, I think he'd be so charming & fascinating.


    Any additional comments?

    The perfect marriage of story and narrator. David Pittu is brilliant. I will be looking out for books narrated by him from now on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gill Palmerston North, New Zealand 02-19-14
    Gill Palmerston North, New Zealand 02-19-14 Member Since 2013

    I like good books, I will follow a good author and i listen to friends recommendations. Love audio books and am fascinated and learning.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    7
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    "Number one"
    Any additional comments?

    I was delighted to find such a long and classy novel. Very pleased to think 'comtemporary Dickens' and find this confirmed in reviews! I will remember it - this is the highest accolade i can give.

    I have given it to my 17 year old to read - she finds it hard to get into books as she is caught up in an instant gratification age of social media. Im pleased to report that she's hooked too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlene Cape Town, South Africa 02-09-14
    Charlene Cape Town, South Africa 02-09-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Loved the book but it should've been 30% shorter"
    What made the experience of listening to The Goldfinch the most enjoyable?

    Tartt's writing is, as usual, gripping. There were so many things I couldn't predict and kept wondering where this story could possibly go after X or Y happened. She sure knows how to keep a girl hooked!


    Have you listened to any of David Pittu’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't but think he is a most excellent narrator. Really spot on with nuance and tone and loved how he could make the various voices sound so different from one another.


    Any additional comments?

    This really was a fanatastic book. It just went on too long in parts and I'm not sure I like the ending. It felt far too preachy and out of sync with the rest of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-16 of 16 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Petra
    Tewkesbury, United Kingdom
    6/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Utterly gripping story"
    Where does The Goldfinch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Goldfinch to, and why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of David Pittu’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a flawed novel - the ending really wobbles - but characterisation and plotting are handled masterfully. Thoroughly enjoyable. A real storyteller or a writer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • K
    United Kingdom
    5/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "just couldn't get into it (sorry)"
    What disappointed you about The Goldfinch?

    I know this book is feted and I have listened to the whole thing to try and give it a chance. it is beautifully narrated and I can totally appreciate and respect the beauty of much of the descriptive narrative. But as a story designed to enthral, grip, excite, inspire, scare or shock me- it totally failed. I was bored throughout. Overly long descriptive passages merged together and I felt disconnected from the anti-hero and all his exploits. Not even the vibrant passages relating to the art interested me-it just left me totally bored and unable to appreciate the appeal. I love a good story but with this I could take it or leave it. I feel guilty writing this, I persevered to the end but would I recommend this book? Only if you want to fall asleep and learn about drugs. Beautifully narrated however.


    How could the performance have been better?

    It is beautifully narrated


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Narration and production values


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Peponi
    London, United Kingdom
    2/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely brilliant! Best book since Shantaram!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The characters in this story have real depth and tge entire storyline is fascinating and engaging.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Goldfinch?

    There are too many memorable moments to pick out just one.


    Have you listened to any of David Pittu’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, most certainly and for several days I could barely wait to get back to listening!


    Any additional comments?

    The subtlety and finesse of Donna Tartt's writing is in a league above most others.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jacqueline
    Aylesbury, Bucks, United Kingdom
    2/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Depressing depressing depressing - all 32 hours"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book certainly wasn't for me! I like a challenge but to lurch from one disastrous scenario to another without respite was just too dismal. I appreciate there will be people out there who sadly go through similar events to these, but I could not take the relentless agony.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The only redeeming quality for me was the narration. David did an excellent job of portraying the characters


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cerisaye
    Glasgow, Scotland
    1/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good listen"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The book is overlong, and its ending anticlimactic. I loved the opening section describing what happens at the museum but the pace lags thereafter and never regains that initial excitement with its emotive punch. Main character Theo Decker is too self-centred and unsympathetic to spend such a long time in his POV, and his youthful sophistication and precociousness didn't ring true to me, very much a case of an older, wiser narrative voice imposing on his earlier self which comes off as pretentiousness. Increasingly I was drawn to the charming miscreant Boris who is by far the more interesting character. I would love to read more about him whereas I have heard more than enough from Theo. The main problem I had, though, is that it felt out of period, i.e. as though the story takes place in the 60s or 70s rather than 00s so when things such as mobile phones and laptops are referenced they were jarring.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Seems to fizzle out, and my attention drifted away. To be honest I was surprised by how positive the ending turns out to be.


    What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The narration of this book is exceptionally well done and held my attention for the most part. I particularly enjoyed how David Pittu brings individual characters to life with distinctive accents. Somehow I doubt I would have enjoyed the book as much if I had read rather than listened to it.


    Was The Goldfinch worth the listening time?

    I had never heard of Fabritius or his painting of the Goldfinch before listening to this book and Tartt certainly crafts a good story around this work that has profound things to say about the role of art and precious objects to human experience and providing a link between past/present. As a coming of age story it works despite problems I had with main character Theo. The parts of the story dealing with drug use and addiction rang true, the criminal gang aspects not so much, however, like something out of a bad movie.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked Tartt's writing about antiques and old furniture, and the character Hobie with his lovingly crafted reproduction pieces. I don't think it was necessary to give Theo an unattainable and unsatisfactory female love interest when there is such a well developed relationship between Theo and Boris.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Rayleigh Essex, United Kingdom
    12/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Did not want it to end!"

    This is the best book that I have read (listened to) in years. The story line is so varied covering many different places, plots surprises etc.. The narrator was perfect for this story excellent at the different accents. I have since purchased three hard back copies for friends, hoping they shall enjoy it as much as I have,.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Anne
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    12/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well worth the long wait"
    If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

    Riveting, surprising, satisfying


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hobie, because he is always there for Theo no matter how catastrophic Theo's behaviour and actions become


    Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favourite?

    Theo because we see him grow and develop from a boy to a man in the course of the book


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No I wanted to make it last and last


    Any additional comments?

    This is a long book and parts of it are hard to hear as Theo goes from being a loved and protected boy to a miserable, drunken, drug addicted, deceived and deceiving young adult - all driven by the insane desire to own a small painting of a little captive bird. In a way Theo is as trapped by fate as the bird in the picture he loves so much.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Barbara
    Tenterden, United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tour de Force"

    This book would have taken some stamina to read rather than hear but David Pittu gives a superb performance. The somewhat lengthy navel gazing passages are made accessible and meaningful thanks to his careful treatment of the text.
    The story is inherently interesting but Theo, about whom the story develops, could easily have become a bit of a bore without the superb characterisation of the narrator.
    I doubt this will be to everyone's taste but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • sarah
    over wallop, United Kingdom
    11/29/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "slow burner but gets there in the end"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    You need to persevere with it as after the initial bomb blast, the first half is very slow, but does build towards the end.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The main character is very believable.


    What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I did like his accents, especially the Russian ones. He was able to bring the different characteristics to life, not just with the accent, but with the timbre and expression in his voice.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No! it's way too long, and I think you'd lose the will to live as there is a lot of drug taking throughout and the narrative meanders somewhat.


    Any additional comments?

    The end was a little hurried. I only gave it 5 stars as it left me a little deflated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Anne
    Dunblane, United Kingdom
    11/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best Listen of the Year"

    I have just finished the Goldfinch and life can now get back to normal.

    This is an utterly compelling listen with beautiful writing and a sensitive performance.

    The novel deals with profound themes of love and loss and the nature of reality. It is also very engaging on a narrative level, with an exciting story with many unexpected twists and threads which weave together over the course of 32 mesmerising hours. Although very long, my interest never wained and the book never felt over long or too detailed. The sense of time and place is amazing and it is possible to become totally involved in the book and suspend disbelief entirely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 102 results PREVIOUS12311NEXT

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