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The Goldfinch Audiobook

The Goldfinch

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, October 2013 - It's already been an amazing season for literary fiction - you can't go wrong with a new Jhumpa Lahiri novel, and Dave Eggers and Amy Tan will also be hitting our virtual shelves soon - but Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is truly one of the most anticipated books of the fall. I confess that I haven't been able to dig into it yet, but the early reviews I'm hearing from trusted colleagues have moved The Goldfinch to the top of my listening list. Sure it's long (ahem, credit-worthy), but the commitment is worth it, with the same intense suspense and character development that made The Secret History, Tartt's debut, a modern classic. —Diana D., Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Winner, Solo Narration - Male, 2014

Audie Award Winner, Literary Fiction, 2014

The author of the classic best-sellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel.

Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity.

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and at the center of a narrowing, ever-more-dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

©2013 Donna Tartt (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

Narrator David Pittu accepts the task of turning this immense volume into an excellent listening experience. Pittu portrays 13-year-old orphan Theo Decker with compassion, portraying his growing maturity in this story of grief and suspense…Pittu adds pathos to his depiction of the troubled Theo as he deals with addiction and finds himself in a dance with gangsters and the art world's darker dealers. (AudioFile)

"Dazzling....[A] glorious, Dickensian novel, a novel that pulls together all Ms. Tartt's remarkable storytelling talents into a rapturous, symphonic whole and reminds the reader of the immersive, stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading." (New York Times)

"A long-awaited, elegant meditation on love, memory, and the haunting power of art....Eloquent and assured, with memorable characters....A standout-and well-worth the wait." (Kirkus, Starred Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (20258 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Linda 01-19-14
    Linda 01-19-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    "Rambling Goldfinch"
    What did you like best about The Goldfinch? What did you like least?

    I enjoyed the journey, but got a headache from listening to the rambling, philosophical rant that was the end. I just wanted it over after a few minutes.


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

    Some authors tie up their ending with a bow, but this one is a long discombobulated braid of rope that seems to hang the entire story. A lot like the Goldfinch. I felt chained to listen to it because of the time I had invested.


    Was The Goldfinch worth the listening time?

    I would have thought so until the end was so frayed. It just blew it.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Booking in GA 01-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too Self Important, And The End is Tedious"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This book is too long. There must be ten million metaphors that don't really add to the setting, characters or plot. At some point they constitute authorial self indulgence. The story itself is good, and I wish it had been told by someone other than one seemingly determined to prove that she stayed awake during every English lesson in her life. Every tedious description is employed---no, deployed ---to bombard the reader. At one point I felt like laying down and crying uncle, as in okay, okay, I GET the soulless post housing boom desperation of Las Vegas, won't you please move along!
    The ending homily was a dreary exposition of "life according to Theo," clumsy and repetitive. It nearly spoiled the book for me. I cannot understand the fascination with Donna Tartt's writing or her mediocre "insights" which seem to boil down to the vulgar bromide that things happen the way they're supposed to. Ugh.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clodhopper Tucson, AZ, United States 12-15-13
    Clodhopper Tucson, AZ, United States 12-15-13 Member Since 2013

    I'm a geologist and I use Audible books to while away long hours on the road... My pickup truck is my reading room!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Zen and the Art of Carel Fabritius"

    The Goldfinch is a wonderful novel, an unique and creative novel with entertaining characters and an engrossing, plot. Highly recommended reading for the Holiday Season. But it is not an immortal novel. It is not a novel for the ages. It will not be required reading in university curricula decades hence. And so, in the end, it rates four stars rather than five.

    The novel is so well written, so imaginative and complex, so far above the standard of most contemporary fiction, that one is tempted to search for deep meanings and universal truths within the story. I am not sure that they are there.

    I have read reviews claiming that the novel seeks to define the essence of art, or the relationship between man and art, etc. If so, the author’s message remains obscure for me, much as the painting itself remains hidden from sight for most of the novel.

    There is, instead, a thread in the novel that seeks to discern “quality”: quality in a person’s character, “quality” in a person’s work, “quality” in intentions well conceived. In this, it contains echoes of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. But “The Goldfinch” is less introspective, less self-aware, less didactical. Its lessons about quality unfold as a subtext to the plot.

    A quote from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”:
    “You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge.”

    The Goldfinch is an appropriate response to this koan.

    David Pittu’s narration is brilliant.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 11-08-13
    Rebecca 11-08-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Where was the editor?"
    What did you like best about The Goldfinch? What did you like least?

    The narrator is fabulous and the concept behind the story is great. BUT the writing is awful: overwrought. The points are belaboured and redundant to the point that it breaks you out of the story. This is one time i would say to the writer "get a great editor, cut the book down by a third, don't make a point repeatedly - we got it the first time. If concision were introduced this could be a great book.


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

    Belabored, pedantic. Redundant to the point of irritation


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

    Boris


    Was The Goldfinch worth the listening time?

    I'm glad I listened but it was a lot, a lot of time. I think many listeners will be lost mid-way.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Los Angeles, CA 11-07-13
    Jack Los Angeles, CA 11-07-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I loved this great book"

    I loved this book. The narrator, who we meet when he is 13, recounts the often amazing story of how he, by chance, comes into possession of a priceless work of art, and over the many years of his life his connection with it and the often unseen control it exerts over his life.
    The story itself is well plotted, a large (though not sprawling) machine with many cogs that work in wide, eccentric arcs; but what makes the book great is the deep insight into human connections and the often breathtaking quality of the prose, especially as it relates to those above mentioned connections.
    I give nothing away by revealing the central character of the novel, Theo, loses his mother early in the book and the passages about his grief and longing for her are painfully, concisely accurate and movingly expressed. After her sudden and painful departure, Theo's life becomes a study in various kinds of deeply felt loneliness, but, by contrast, in a way the book is about the connections we make; the starkness of his isolation makes the glow of the love and friendship he finds and struggles with all that much stronger. In particular the central relationship is the one between him and the painting itself and even the simple physical descriptions of the painting are informed and radiant. And, of course, since it's a Donna Tartt novel there is a dream sequence that is absolutely electric, I don't know if it's fair to call this a trope of hers but it's something she writes exceptionally well and you spend half the novel looking for it and when it arrives it does not disappoint.
    I have read all three of Donna Tartt's novels ( I really loved 'the Little Friend' ) and I would have to say I think this one may be my favorite.
    The narrator does an excellent job, he has consistent voices for each character, he has a great instinct for delivery and his voice is a great match for this story, it's hard for me to think of Theo and not hear his voice.
    I would just like to say, one more time, this is a great, great book. It starts strong, and goes and goes and mostly does not disappoint. I don't leave a lot of reviews but every now and then, and I'm sure you've had this experience, you read something so good you just want to tell everybody. great book, please go and enjoy.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alice 11-05-13
    Alice 11-05-13 Member Since 2008

    Another Audible Addict

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Golden!"

    Well worth length. It's got everything, and more, including - vivid characters, love, sex, friendship, suspense, sweetness, sadness and mostly
    truth. I loved it.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy LA GRANDE, OR, United States 01-30-14
    Nancy LA GRANDE, OR, United States 01-30-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Too Much Book for Too Little Story"

    After all the great reviews I've read about this book I was surprised at how little it really had to offer. It's a lengthy listen and I kept hanging in there with it, hoping that something incredible was about to happen that would live up to all the hype this book has received, but alas, it just continues on and on as the main character, Theo, continues the same pattern of drug addiction and uncertainty without any perceptible goals.

    In a way it's about a person who never lives up to his potential although what that potential might be, I really don't know because he never seems too interested in much of anything. He does have a manic attachment to The Goldfinch painting, which he absconds with after an explosion in a museum that kills his mother. He hides it away for fear that it will be discovered by someone and basically spends a lot of time fretting over it and wasting it's beauty and depriving everyone of seeing it by wrapping it up tightly and keeping it taped behind his bed or in a storage unit for years, a place he eventually becomes too paranoid to even visit. It is also way too long for the story it has to tell.

    David Pittu's narration is good, freaky good with voices he gives to some characters, but a little annoying in how he portrays others. He covers alot of voices though, and you can't win 'em all.

    I don't think I would recommend the book because it just wasn't that interesting. It could have been half as long and perhaps that would have helped.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilinca Romania 12-26-13
    Ilinca Romania 12-26-13 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "pseudo-philosophical fluff meets humorless Dickens"

    If the reviewers have been so unanimous in comparing The Goldfinch to a Dickens novel, it's because it obviously tries to be one. Either that or Fielding, I'm not sure. (Though she lacks the humor of both.) The segues between stations are sometimes as subtle as if Tartt had actually said "and thus Theo stepped out of the party and into what was to be the next station along his journey". The wide-encompassing view of society is almost too all over the place, from WASP to white trash to art dealer to shady Europeans, drug dealers and mobsters and what not.

    My feeling: Donna Tartt does not have a very good grasp of real life and real people. She is also not interested in endowing her main character with agency (or, arguably, intelligence). Theo is amazingly inert throughout his life; the only bit of agency he displays is grabbing the painting - which at same time renders him implausible from the outset, and renders the novel a rather clumsy literary artefact.
    Others have pointed out the implausible bits in the novel, and it is painful to even remember them - starting with the pseudo-shakespearian moment of a character discoursing on Everything as he is dying, to the helpful gypsy-like character of Boris, which is like something out of Dickens or like the reindeer gypsy girl in an Andersen fairy tale, only with drugs instead of reindeer.
    Also, with the last chapter Donna Tartt displays a very distressing inclination to just gush out a stream of words and sentences with some semblance of depth, but which turn out, upon closer inspection, to be fluff and pseudo-philosophical nonsense (Music is the space between notes? Beauty changes the grain of reality?) that seem to make sense when you're 16 and falling in love with The Important Things In Life, but then you grow up and realize the best literature is not made up of Important Sounding Sentences.

    More to the point, this is a novel that leaves you with nothing. It's not bad, it's not badly written, it's just one more novel that wants to be more than it can be.
    I, for one, think Donna Tart needs to live a little, go out more, understand agency, and narrow her writing down to things she actually knows and understands: less showy, more real.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tlt904 Oklahoma, USA 04-24-17
    tlt904 Oklahoma, USA 04-24-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Drug out minutiae way too long."

    I wanted to know the story, but honestly, the author would go off on rabbit trails that did not add anything to the ultimate story line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miss Haha 04-24-17
    Miss Haha 04-24-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Awful. Terrible. Utterly depressing."

    I kept seeing people recommend "The Goldfinch". So I bought it.

    I loathed the book. If I'd had a hard copy, it's the sort of book I would have flung away from me for being such a waste of paper and my time.

    What a pointless, humorless, boring book peopled with unlikable, awful characters. Any character which might be considered as decent or nice person is a total milquetoast, terrified of confrontation and life. The author just drones on and on and on, taking hundreds of pages to say very little.

    I finished it because I thought maybe there was something great that would happen to make it so highly recommended. I feel like I've read a different book than everyone else. Utterly depressing on so many levels.

    The narrator was the only decent thing about this purchase.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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