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The Goldfinch | [Donna Tartt]

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

4.2 (209 )
5 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.2 (185 )
5 star
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1 star
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Story
4.5 (186 )
5 star
 (123)
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (5)
Performance


There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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  • 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
  • A. E. Wright
    Liverpool UK
    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
  • Amy
    5/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best book I ever listened to!"
    What did you like most about The Goldfinch?

    There is not a word wrong, I was utterly sucked in, living the book, loving the characters with all my heart! It was a wonderful story, so moving and so many intriguing lines drawn concerning history, art, suffering, longing, families, belonging..... I get the dickens comparison but also though there was some jack kerouac in there.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Boris and Zandra. I loved the narrators accents, made me really fond of them.


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

    I have never heard anything else but he was incredible. Perfect.


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

    Yes! But it was a great long book to spread over a couple of weeks.


    Any additional comments?

    Overwhelmed with how fantastic this book and its performance is. So pleased to have experienced it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Oscar
    4/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Far too slow moving for me."

    I know loads of people adore this book and Donna Tartt fans will love it. However, I found the descriptions weighed down the book and took any pace and urgency out of it. The narrator went on constant mind meanders, thinking about this and thinking about that before he got to the point. I was intrigued by the premise of the story and the tension was set up well at the beginning of the book, but forward motion was so slow in terms of moving the plot forwards. I didn't particularly enjoy Tartt's writing, as in, I wasn't content to listen to her write and write about all sorts before she got to the point of her story, so I abandoned ship and didn't finish it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Diane
    Kfar Daniel, Israel
    2/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story but very very long"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story was good but much too long. Tons of description so that you get weighed down by it.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • S. Mottershead
    Liverpool UK
    5/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unlikable main character - slow and dreary"
    What would have made The Goldfinch better?

    Very little happens, so this book should be a lot shorter. I'm about 2/3 through it and I could easily sum up the story so far in 1 or 2 sentences.

    Secondly, the author over uses metaphors and similes, sometimes using several in the same sentence. It''s a bit much TBH, and it doesn't come over well in audiobook format IMHO.

    Thirdly, the main character is just annoying. He doesn't do obvious things that any normal person would do. I guess you're supposed to feel sorry for him, and I did for a while, but eventually his repeated screwing up (despite apparently being a genius with a top education) begins to annoy you.


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

    My wife recommended this book to me, she said it's the best book she's ever read, so obviously some people will enjoy it. I think she liked the way things are described in flowery language, I don't mind a bit of that, but it was way overdone for my taste.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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