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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

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  •  
    Michelle Cranbrook, BC, Canada 03-21-14
    Michelle Cranbrook, BC, Canada 03-21-14 Member Since 2013

    Love comtemporary lierature, some classics. Not a sci fi/fantasy gal.

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    "Absolutely stunning novel - best audible book yet."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Goldfinch to be better than the print version?

    Didn't read the print version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Goldfinch?

    Compelling relationships, completely captivating characters, unforgettable story. Every moment was memorable, but the explosion that changes everything in the beginning is the most memorable.


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

    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".


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Brilliant.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DaWoolf Sutton, MA 03-02-14
    DaWoolf Sutton, MA 03-02-14 Member Since 2015

    I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.

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    "Not Too Shabby!"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Wycoff California 12-30-13
    Joyce Wycoff California 12-30-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Too long ... too boring ... too long"

    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.

    14 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Perry Hall 11-16-13

    One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stellar. Tartt worthy of Dickens comparisons!"

    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!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 07-06-14
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 07-06-14 Member Since 2015

    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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow Burner"

    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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob 11-21-13
    Bob 11-21-13
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    "A Deep and Rich Story"

    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!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine 11-18-13
    Elaine 11-18-13

    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.

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    "The title is very misleading"

    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.

    20 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred LAKE OSWEGO, OR, United States 11-11-13
    fred LAKE OSWEGO, OR, United States 11-11-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm Trying to see the world with my ears.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just finished this book in about four days!!!"

    This is one of the BEST books I have read in a long time. One so compelling and transcending that it had me thinking about the book long after it's finish. It is a scope of writing that encompasses so much it's sometimes hard to wrap your head around everything. It is the human condition incarnate.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karmel Denver, Colorado 11-24-13
    Karmel Denver, Colorado 11-24-13 Member Since 2009
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    "I kept hoping"

    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.

    15 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Pinole, CA, United States 12-23-13
    Kimberly Pinole, CA, United States 12-23-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why is this one of the NYTimes 10 Best?"

    I gave up 2/3 of the way through this listen. Let it be known that is 24 hours - a whole day. And yet this book failed to grab me. I found it to be overly long. I don't think there is a point in the book that Tartt does not belabor - she told me 57 times that Theo's mother was a saint, his father a jerk, etc. But worse, there are only abut 3 hours of plot within the first DAY of listening. Tartt seems to be in love with the sound of her own voice, her own (very estimable) powers of description and gift for dialogue. But she needs the hand of good editor - someone who can say "kill your darlings" and get on with the story. A real disappointment - tho read by a very good reader.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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