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
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)
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
I can imagine Boris, one of the characters, saying exactly that in his russian accent. "Shut up Theo you talk to much. Oh my head hurts too many words" .
The author is a great writer and the narrator is great, but you will find yourself fast forwarding a lot by end of book. Near end there is a 2 hour endless dialogue with Theo by himself in a hotel room in Amsterdam. It is interminable to listen to it.
Some people compare it to Dickens, it is not really there. It actually reminds me a lot of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. The lead character, Theo, is unable to get over a tragedy that happens when he is twelve. His life spirals downhill, and only at the end does he find redemption. The author gets really preachy about the "power of art" to change mankind.
When the story is moving along at a good pace, it is very good. When it starts to get preachy its very bad. The author needs to get a new editor who will get out the red pencil and chop and chop. Most of teh time I found myself saying "enough already, get on with the story".
Tartt can thank Stephen King for bestowing upon her latest novel the now inescapable hagiographic parallel to Dickens. A guarantee that here is a standout novel, the rarity we've been waiting for, Tartt's confectionary special treat, and masterful line-up of characters, "was there ever such a goose?!" You can almost touch the bedazzled jeans of Xandra and be transported, a la the Ghost of Tacky Extravagances Present, to the skeezy outskirts of Vegas, hear the slot machines tink-tink-tink, and gasp for a breath of hot, dry, exhaled tobacco air. And after I plodded through the first 100 pages (constant references to Dickens can sometimes handicap a story that way...great expectations, so to speak) I was on board.
The obvious associations, The Artful Dodger, Fagin, Pip, Estella, to Harry Potter, the Thénardiers Waltz of Treachery, are well done, nods and dopplegängers from great literature that can stand in their own story -- quite a feat. But by far the showpiece of this book, and where Tartt turns on the magic and earns such lofty comparisons, is when our poor half-orphaned Theo is whisked away from the aesthete life in New York to Vegas -- here the emotional heart of the story begins. Theo's scumbag father, the outrageous wife Xandra, and * the world's greatest no-goodnik* Boris, (a likewise semi-orphaned son of a scumbag, and Ukranian immigrant) make up an unholy and brilliant trio occupying the low-wattage outskirts of Vegas, lit-up on drugs, booze and harebrained schemes. Tartt traps Theo in a drug-hazed nihilistic post card vision of Las Vegas. She creates this world with a force, it's vivid and claustrophobic; neon vacancy signs, drifting toys in empty pools, heat waves rippling in a badly tinted blue sky under a vulgar grinning sun. Theo wallows in his sorrow, semi-conscious of the days, chained to his grief and knowledge of the stolen piece of art.
When artist Carel Fabritius (1622-1654) painted The Goldfinch, he was *heralded for his gifts of illusion and brilliant trompe l'oeil techniques; the composition was elegant in its spare simplicity.* At a whopping 771 pages (that's 32+ hrs. if you do the Audible math) this contradictory titled novel has a wingspan more like that of the Andean condor -- drug addiction, abuse, urban and social decay, art theft and forgery, organized crime, coming of age and unrequited love -- a palette of subjects mined and detailed like little books themselves, all under the broad brushstrokes of Tartt's Goldfinch. There is a surfeit of thought provoking topics on which Tartt provides enough education to tempt a cerebral tangent away from the story: the psychology of Survivor's Guilt, philosophy of art for both the aesthete and moralist, the search for the literary golden fleece: the deeper meaning behind the words.
She may have a bit of philosopher in her, definitely an art lover, but above all, Tartt is a great novelist and contemporary storyteller. There are the bumps-- inconsistencies and improbabilities to perseverate over, but these added more charm and mystery than distraction from the huge story. That is what a storyteller sets out to do, and does, fantasy/realism, larger than life...probability be damned. I don't remember ever questioning probability reading Dickens. Yes, art lifts us up, and speaks to us in its own language; and so does Tartt.
Listening to this was like hearing every frame of a long movie, in excruciating detail described along with totally irrelevant conversations. The conversations of a group of travelers in front of him getting off the plane, the menu in a coffee house, the details of an airline ticket. And on top of it the narratormakes every five words into a melodramatic, mystery thriller cadence for 32 hours. And his voice for every female character made me cringe. The basic story was interesting, but could have been written in two thirds the words.It was as though every scene was described in two or three ways because the writer couldn't choose which one to use.
Aside from that, I found the character unsympathetic, though I really wanted to care for him, given the hard luck he had.
I really struggled to finish this.
Wow, Donna Tartt can write! Her vivid descriptions bring each character, room, object, to life in the mind's eye. The story is full of memorable characters. Yes, the book is longer than necessary and somewhat repetitive at times, but the writing is so good, that I didn't mind. Some reviewers felt that the main character, Theo, was unlikeable, but I didn't find him so at all. He is alone in the world, scarred by the tragic loss of his mother, and is struggling to find his way. My biggest complaint would be that that women play such a small role in the 771 pages/ 32 hours of this book. I alternated between reading and listening, just so I could get through the book sooner. The narrator did a good job, which made listening a real pleasure.
This was the first book by Donna Tartt that I read (or listened to). The story is great and beleivable in all its tiny details. I think it pictures very well of how it is to be raised today in the Western society. You don't have to lose your parents (or even one of them) to end up on the somewhat shady side of life. You might just as well have parents who are (physically or mentally) absent and who does not think child-rearing is a particluar interesting topic. But kids survive, even if they don't thrive, or succeed in the "normal" way. The story is very well told, does never get boring and it is brought to a very logical end. I loved this book and will look for others by the author. The narration is also great.
Say something about yourself!
Didn't read the print version.
Compelling relationships, completely captivating characters, unforgettable story. Every moment was memorable, but the explosion that changes everything in the beginning is the most memorable.
No I haven't but will seek out more. He was incredible. Great accent work for one, and goes from character to character effortlessly. You always know whos "speaking".
Definitely extreme. My husband was glad when it was over so we could speak again. I grieved the end. It's one of those books that will live with you forever.
I had read another review where the reviewer had absolutely loved the book until the end, where she felt the author started to "pontificate." I couldn't agree more.
The story is absolutely amazing -- at times charming, at times sad, at times hilariously funny, at times heartbreaking.The plot moves in crazy directions, making it sound like almost different novels put together (from a very intimate portrayal of a kid going through loss…to a mad caper through the back alleys of Amsterdam)…and yet it works. You don't mind accompanying Theo on his road trip through life. I LOVED it from the very beginning and simply could not put it down.
AND THEN come the last couple of hours, where the narrator seems to lose confidence in her amazing skill and she has the main character ramble on and on and on and on (and on) about 'the meaning of life.' No! No! No! That was totally unnecessary (and condescending and pedantic), Donna. We GOT IT! You did a great job getting us to GET IT. There was no need for the sudden (and boring) style change. (Where was the editor???)
As I was reading the book, I kept thinking, "HOW could you not give this book five stars, no matter if that reviewer is right and it fails a bit at the end?" And yet, as it turns out, I could not give it five stars because of that excruciating two-hour homily towards the end (perhaps it was just an hour, but it felt longer).
Still, I recommend The Goldfinch. The other 28 hours were absolutely great.
The narrator is excellent. Loved him so much that I went to see what else he had done (to my dismay, he has done a lot of kid books…and I had actually listened to most of his few adult books already).
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I am into the second of the 5 Audible 'chapters' of this book and am fascinated by the authors intricate storytelling as well as the narrators ability with different voices.
We all know a narrator can make or break a novel. David Pittu has met this challenge wonderfully. He reads the novel, one that is full of details and different people, with glory and imagination.
This is my first Donna Tartt book and I'm sure I'll be listening to her other novels, if this is typical of her. I love long novels, and also enjoy novels with lots of personal information about the characters. Donna Tartt supplies these with the same enthusiasm as Rosamund Pilcher or Diana Galbendon do in their novels, though this is a totally different type of story as either of the mentioned authors write, the feelings brought forth in their stories are full of details that truly flesh out the primary characters thoughts, feelings and views.
I've read many of the Amazon reviews and mentioned so frequently is the length, the length,the length of the novel.
SO What!! It's a long book..it took Tartt 7 years to give birth to the book and develop the story. Shes not a brief writer, apparently, I say "Good For Her."
The great thing about Audible is we can listen anytime, in the car, doing housework, walking the dog..or as I am this evening at 9PM. Not involved in some inane reality TV program. Instead I have the unmitigated pleasure of listening to a wonderful book that lets me use my imagination to view the scene that Tartt write with such ability.
Well worth your credit!
loss effects life
When Theo hits the bottom and has the dream where he looks into the mirror. It struck me of how many of us who have lost someone have wished for that moment.
David Pittu is one of my favorite performance artist. I found myself speaking like Boris in tone and mannerism when I was by myself. He brings all the characters to life but than again, he always does.
I did not laugh or cry, but I did feel the immense loss and a bit uncomfortable when the book was speaking about addiction. There were times when I really didn't think I could take much more, it seemed to go on and on, but than it really hit me, this is just a small picture into what addiction is really like and if it made me feel uncomfortable than how horrible it must be to live in the skin of an addict.
The Goldfinch is a well written and memorable. Great authors make us feel emotions, rather it is joy or loss or even being uncomfortable, they bring to life the things in our souls that we sometimes choose to ignore. Fantastic work on a subject that most do not understand or even care to identify.
Not sure I would listen again, there are so many books out there to enjoy.
Well-developed characters. I love long books that cover a long period of time. Honestly, I was a bit sorry to reach the end.
Boris, Hobie, Theo. David Pittu's interpretation of each character was immensely helpful in following the sometimes complicated story line. Masterful storytelling!
Very near the end, when Hobie didn't turn his back on Theo. The description of the life of the subject of the painting, also near the end.
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