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)
This ranks in the top ten percent of the audiobooks I've heard. The genre is much different than what I usually choose and I was engrossed from the first chapter.
I felt that the most interesting character was Boris because of his rough sweetness. His depth of caring for those important to him contrasted his seemingly shallow attitude about himself and life. He had a wiseness that Theo lacked and saw things in people. Through all his tragedy, he enjoyed life while he had absolutely nothing.
David PIttu's performance was one of the best I've heard. He brought each of the characters to life with all the emotion that was needed to truly get a sense of how difficult the story was to live for Theo. His characterizations of Boris, Andy and Xandra filled them out in a way my mind wouldn't have. I would've missed the humor.
The Goldfinch itself was the character that caught my attention and will continue to hold it. Her description of the painting and the emotions it evoked in all who loved it made it almost alive with its beauty and sadness. In my Internet search to see what this painting is, I've learned how much it has captivated other readers as they've flocked to view it with their own eyes.
After reading the NY Times review of this novel, I understand why I was so drawn to it. It does have a very Dickensian feel to it. Tragic with hope. Despair with beauty. Lessons learned with some salvation and redemption, with some help from lucky destiny. I loved how this chain of events starts off just by getting suspended from school for a "crime" he didn't commit and forever changes the expected path of a sweet boy. It sends him into a life devoid of enjoyment and full of pain, with emptiness surrounding him. But in the end, there's a glimmer of "you had to go through all this in order for the good to happen". It's the eternal optimist's way of looking at life.
This was an excellent story that spans many years and many places, from the upper east side of New York to Las Vegas to Amsterdam. An adolescent boy experiences a life-changing tragedy and then stumbles into the world of art forgeries, antiques, drugs, blackmail, unconditional love, and the Russian mafia. Although none of these things especially interest me, I enjoyed the book a lot from the first sentence of the first page to the last. It is probably one of the best books I have listened to in the last 5 years. The narrator reads in a way that makes him actually disappear and lets the story just enter your brain. He does the accents of the rich private school kids, the Russian teenager, the bimbo girlfriend of his father, the Greenwich Village art restorer, and more, so well that you can picture them in your mind. I bought two copies of this book for gifts and recommended it to my book club.
very traumatic life
I loved the characters! Even though it seems like such a tragedy, it was not depressing and this was one book I just couldn't put down! I didn't want it to end and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.
His narration was phenomenal! It was easily apparent who was talking and I fell in love with his Russian accents!
Definitely Hobie. He was remarkable - sweet, nurturing, intelligent and fascinating. Of course, as a woman I couldn't help but fall in love with the bad boy, Boris.
I want everyone I know to read this book!
For anyone who has read my other reviews on Audible, it will come as no surprise when I open this review by saying that I love art. I keep reading fiction about art, hoping that I will come across something lovely, but am usually stuck with a big steaming turd. Not so with this book. It's like 32 hours of Catcher In The Rye with an art twist.
Since it's a very long book, let me break it down a little, starting at the beginning.
The first part, where he talks about his relationship with his mother, is beautiful. I'm the single mother of a little boy (now not so little) and our relationship is very much like the one in the book. It made me a little teary eyed, and I can only hope that my own son thinks of me with such loving tenderness, even though I drag him to all sorts of boring museums that I'm sure he would rather not go to.
After she dies and Theo's future is uncertain, it does get a bit uncomfortable to listen to. But that's what great books do. They make you feel, even if that feeling is unpleasant at times.
Later on, when he's back in NY, he does some rather shady things. I completely understood why he did what he did, how he felt about it and how he coped with his situation. Not only does he have untreated PTSD, but he's also self-medicating. That combination will produce sad outcomes every time.
After he is reunited with a long lost friend, we hear about his past from a different voice and realize what an unreliable narrator we have been listing to up to that point, and it brings into question everything we think we know about Theo and everything else.
The situation with the art is well done. It didn't feel like she was stretching to tell the story. The art work fit into the plot quite well. I loved listening to the characters speak so lovingly of art and antiques. And also being made to understand how owning an illegal/stolen piece of art would be an unbelievable burden and not a great adventure. (It puts me in mind of The Pearl.)
The end is a bit wordy. I still felt like Theo was an unreliable narrator, but maybe a bit less so after unburdening himself of some of his worries.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book.
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.
#1 Aud Bks: T Help,T Darling, All D Sedaris,Prayer for Owen M.All G Flynn ,Secrt Lang of Bees, Bel Canto, 11/22/63 H2O fr Elephants Dog Star
I cut and pasted the following sentence from another reviewer. It described something that was really bothering me, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
"This book goes on and on with excruciating, unneeded detail. Ended many sentences with a list of nouns. Like...sidewalk, plant with budding yellow flower, trash bag caught on a nail. It was painful to listen to." There is much more that is dull with this book. I stopped after 3.5 hrs.
I have learned a lesson here about looking at other reviewer's comments. It is important to change the default ( Most Helpful) to "Most Recent". There is a preponderance of overly positive reviews under Most Helpful- probably most helpful to the author and Audible because people will be inclined to buy the book.
This is the second book in 2 weeks that I have requested a refund on, and both books were 4+ stars. But when you look at "Most Recent" , you will find articulate reviews that are not always so positive.Thank you to those reviewers who have described well the faults of some so-called good/ popular books. I have not been able to always put my reservations into words, but reservations I have had.
Less irrelevent blather throughout the story.
This book goes on and on with excruciating, unneeded detail. Ended many sentences with a list of nouns. Like...sidewalk, plant with budding yellow flower, trash bag caught on a nail. It was painful to listen to.
A riveting story but ultimately interminable and cloying. By the last few hours I was really wishing that Theo would OD or anything just to make him shut up! If it had been half as long it would have been a great story. Perfect narrator, too bad he had to play an amoral professional victim who overthinks everything to death. I'm glad I stuck it out, but I think this book is somewhat over-rated.
I am a young-executive with a voracious appetite for great stories. I read and listen constantly, and am very proud of my book collection.
I am embarrassed to say that I almost moved past this book, as I did not have the patience to tolerate being unable to predict the direction of this book. The action comes so fast and furious that I left behind my misgivings and held on for a realistic ride through the eyes of an archetypical American young man--brutally honest despite the risk to himself.
This book is candid, the language direct, and a the action real and believable. This book is a large mirror for our Modern America, and at times you likely will not like what you see. Many themes are woven together to create this masterpiece: some delicate, love and longing, and some violent, drugs, terrorism, and theft! However, of hero, Theo, always has a good reason for his conduct and you cannot help but find sympathy for this flawed young man.
This book is for anyone who loves the bitter sweet reality of this human experience. Theo happens to live on the edge, but it is through this lens that we see the real message: the human being is capable of joy despite horrible and devastating loss. Love finds its way into our hearts despite time blasting away youth's innocence.
The narrator gives life to the main character. His voice is both innocent and worldly.
Theo Decker the main character is a tragic hero, but the reader cannot help but identify with his foibles.
I would love to have Boris as a dinner companion because of his voracious and indomitable appetite for life.
I am still thinking about the book, and it has been a week since I finished it. It is one of those rare books one considers a companion. It left me thinking about deeper questions of life.
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