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)
I'm not sure. I just couldn't connect with any of it. It just went on and on and I kept telling myself it would get better and I just never could get into it or behind the main characters. I can't figure out what I'm missing. Clearly many other reviewers really enjoyed it.
The main character, come on Theo, get it together.
Yes, definitely, as long as he isn't using a Russian accent.
Disappointment and frustration...and a healthy dose of boredom.
I absolutely love Tartt's other books and just can't figure out what everybody else sees in this book. Maybe I will try again at a later date.
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.
Love comtemporary lierature, some classics. Not a sci fi/fantasy gal.
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'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
The Goldfinch is one of the best books I have read in the last two years. What makes the Goldfinch so good? The Story! The reader is locked into a completely original and captivating story with excellent character development. The Goldfinch deals with many social issues, personal sagas, and themes without losing distracting the reader from the main story. This was my first Donna Tartt book, where many book aficionados refer to her as a genius. I may fall into that camp. Tartt's use of foreshadowing and character describing analogies will make you want to read the book twice.
Tartt brings the reader into environments, personal circumstances, and private meetings that create a great sense of reader intimacy and connectedness throughout the book. The Goldfinch addresses the motivations and experiences associated with drug abuse, addiction, and PTSD. These heady and sad experiences are handled expertly by Tartt, where the reader is not overwhelmed by pessimism or hopelessness.
I have two major criticisms of the Goldfinch: 1) Some sections of the book are overwritten. As the reader you want to move to the next scene change. However, Tartt gives allows the main charter to overly process their current dilemma to the point the reader shouts out loud "For the love of God please make a decision"! 2) The reader must struggle through the first 75 pages. Tartt give the reader a long wind-up before delivering the pitch. This is not helped by the somewhat awkward narrator voice of Theo's mother in the audio book. For the most part the narrator, David Pittu, is excellent. However, he struggles with the Theo's mother voice to the point of distraction.
Criticisms aside, I loved and would recommend the Goldfinch to any serious fan of fiction. In my rank order book evaluation system (Best to Work) that I have developed for all the audio books I have listen to over the last two years, I rank the Goldfinch number 5 of 58. Not Too Shabby.
It's always hard to give a really good writer a bad review but this book is just too much ... too long, too depressing, too long, too one dimensional, too long ...
I've listened to about 14 hours of Theo being the good-but-stupid kid. I don't think it's worth another 18 hours of my life, especially when the opening told me Theo is still in the midst of self-destructing. If this is so Dickensian, I might as well go back and read Dickens.
I want to reach out and hug Theo, take him home and comfort him ... but I also want to shake him silly. He made a friend in Hobie and then just lets it go. I want a book to have an arc ... this one just seems to be one long, joyless ride to nowhere.
While some have complained about the narrator, I thought he did a great job and probably kept me listening several hours longer than I would have otherwise.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
I finished this a few days after the release. I always let the good ones settle into my psyche to assess whether I was swept away in the moment or this really was an excellent novel. Here, definitely, it's the latter.
Donna Tartt shatters the world of an impressionable kid then shakes: forcing him to live with a ne'er do well dad, giving him a most memorable pal (one of the best drawn supporting characters in recent memory), an unrequited love, an adopted family, the symbolic Dutch painting of the chained "Goldfinch," and creating significant roles in the polar opposites of the burgeoning and boisterous NYC and the desolate, belly-busted subdivision developments outside Las Vegas; and, finally, sending our hero on a suspenseful quasi-odyssey to Holland. She finely closed the circle on one of the most unforgettable and Dickensian in modern memory (moreso than Owen Meany, in my opinion).
Like I said, Stellar!
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
A terrorist bomb explodes in a New York art gallery, killing many people and destroying priceless art treasures. Theo, the hero of this book, loses his mother in the blast, but before discovering this he is given a famous painting, The Goldfinch, by an old man dying of his wounds, accompanied by a young girl.
The rest of the book describes the effects of this initial trauma on the life of the boy growing into a man. He is taken in by two kind New York families and is eventually reclaimed by his dodgy estranged father, who whisks him off to Las Vegas. Theo still has the painting and has kept it secret all along.
He forms a friendship with a likable Russian-American rogue and they hang out together, getting drunk and experimenting with drugs. His father is then killed as a result of mixing in the wrong circles, and so Theo is alone again. He runs away to avoid Child Custody Services and rejoins the kindly New York antique dealer who had helped him after the bomb blast.
The book then shoots forward a few years to find Theo getting himself into trouble by selling fake antiques, and then he is reunited with his Russian Friend. There is a bit of an adventure at the end and I won't spoil it any more than I have already done.
Overall, I was disappointed by this book. It is well-written and the characters are well-drawn and engaging, but the plot is slow and a bit random. It sort of drifts along and you are thinking 'come on, come on, get on with it', and although it finishes with a dramatic climax you are still thinking 'what was the point of all that?'. It is all a bit shapeless and unsatisfying.
What can you say about a 32 hour book? First I'll say, I've listened to 12 hour books I thought would never end! This 32 hours went by in a flash. I was constantly interested and entertained. I won't re-hash the story line, I will only say the writing and pacing and character development are wonderful.
This is destined to be on everyone's best fiction of 2013 list for sure. Pulitzer prize quality writing in my opinion. Not since 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' have I been so taken in by a book.
Just get this book...you will love it!
I did not learn to read until I was in my twenties. Have not stopped since. The two most important things to learn are reading & chess.
The story started off well and caught my interest right from the beginning. Unfortunately that did not last long. I should have returned the book. The story focused so much on drug and alcohol abuse it became boring quickly. I ended up fast forwarding at the speed of 2 and sometimes 2.5 to find out what happened to the painting, which was the only part of the story that was of interest, and turned out to be a very small part. All of the characters were so flawed I could cared less what happened to them, most of all the main character.
Tartt's descriptions of the main character's use of drugs was good, but more information than I was interested in hearing.
The plot would have been much better if Tratt followed the painting rather than main character and his drugged up life and messed up friends.
Pittu narration was good considering the material he was presenting.
I disliked the main character so much, that when, towards the end of the book, he's thinking about doing something horrible to himself, I actually found myself thinking...yes, do it!! Then we can be done with this! I stuck it out though, because I kept hoping that he somehow redeems himself at the end, and I don't really know if he did or not, because I was only half listening. Having said that, the performance was brilliant and some of the other characters were truly interesting and entertaining.
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