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The Goldfinch | [Donna Tartt]

The Goldfinch

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.
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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 (8675 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jeanne Albany, CA, United States 12-31-13
    Jeanne Albany, CA, United States 12-31-13
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    2
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    "I want to buy a paper copy now"
    What did you love best about The Goldfinch?

    The entire narrative.


    What about David Pittu’s performance did you like?

    I enjoy the way he uses his voice for the different characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I listened to the ending several times. I liked the way the character brought together everything from his journey.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheri Surrey, British Columbia, Canada 12-30-13
    Sheri Surrey, British Columbia, Canada 12-30-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Highly talented narrator :)"

    If you have not read Tartt's A Secret History, you may not be prepared for the slow pace of her work. I enjoy settling in for a long stay with Tartt's work and this narrator made it an absolute joy - his talent for changing his voice for each character was truly wonderful.

    I loved listening to The Goldfinch right up until the final chapters, when the ending took a long and laborious turn, with little resolution or payoff.

    Despite the ending, I would recommend this novel to others and will likely listen to it again in a few years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy United States 12-27-13
    Nancy United States 12-27-13 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Beautifully written, intelligent and entertaining"
    Where does The Goldfinch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Goldfinch is one of the best Audible reads so far, and I have listened to hundreds of books.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Theo is the main character, who throughout the book matures and develops. However, I most appreciated the wild and reckless personality of Boris, the way the book is read and especially the accents of characters like Boris add a lot to the texture of the book. Hobie is a close contender, thoughtful and gentle. I loved Andy too, so intelligent, so awkward so believable! There are no weakly developed characters. All are very much alive.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Very difficult to say. I will say that I listened to the last chapter of this book several times. I even bought the e-book so I could remember some of Theo's comments on what he has learned, the place of secrets in our lives, the placing of art and beauty.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought the beginning of the book was slow but don't let that turn you off; you would miss the whole trip! I really appreciate an author that is capable of taking me deep into the feelings and senses of the characters. This book engages all your senses; it also makes you think.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Oneal California 12-26-13
    C. Oneal California 12-26-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm addicted to Audible. A new grandma I am responsible for my grandsons library, which reignited my interest in books.

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    "Mezmorizing"
    If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

    Dark, gritty, engaging


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

    I didn't like the characters and in the beginning it made it hard to listen to the book. But the story was too god to put down.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katerina PORTLAND, OR, United States 12-26-13
    Katerina PORTLAND, OR, United States 12-26-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Left Me Unsatisfied"
    Any additional comments?

    I was immediately captivated by The Goldfinch and found it to be the perfect immersive vacation read. The prose is beautiful, the characters are distinct, and the premise is entertaining, if not a bit depressing.

    My disappointment comes from a discordance between my expectations of the book and the actual intentions of the author.

    The way the story was written gave me the sense that it was either not fantastical enough or not realistic enough, and Tartt should have chosen which direction to go in more clearly.

    The way the plot is built up in the beginning chapters, I was anticipating more of a mystery, more of an interweaving of details that would add up to some bigger meaning in the final pages.

    Instead, I discovered that The Goldfinch is much more a story of human desperation, of existential quandary, and the discordance between longing and physical reality.

    Had I approached the book with this understanding I might have enjoyed it more, especially toward the end.

    My primary criticism of the book, in fact, lies within the final chapters.

    After a relatively enjoyable plot progression, in the final portion of the book Tartt suddenly changes the writing style to one of philosophical rambling. I get the sense that she arrived at her book's conclusion and realized that the moral wasn't explicit enough in the preceding pages, and thus decided to hit the readers in the face with what she was actually trying to get at the whole time. It would have been much more effective had she woven those musings into the previous chapters.

    Moreover, aside from the plot, I found that there were numerous other loose ends that could have been tied together more elegantly, but the manner in which she attempted to do so felt a bit contrived.

    I was addicted to listening to the story and found it to be the perfect companion as I traveled between airports, but I was addicted in anticipation of a conclusion that never came.

    Instead I was left with a bored and dissatisfied feeling at the end of the book which tainted my reflection of the whole experience.

    Would I recommend this book? Sure, but only to readers who are seeking a study of an unfulfilling and often desperate reflection of human potential (or lack thereof).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, PA, United States 12-24-13
    Diane SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, PA, United States 12-24-13 Member Since 2010
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    "32 hours of my life I would like to have back!!"
    What disappointed you about The Goldfinch?

    It started out sort of interesting and then it quickly went down hill. After a couple of hours I would have been happy if Theo just died. Half way through I wanted to kill him myself. Is it possible to be that stupid and make that many bad decisions in one life time?


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    A good mystery.


    What didn’t you like about David Pittu’s performance?

    The performance was really fine but when the book is this awful it is hard to praise the reader


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The solution for returning the painting was actually quite clever, if only she had stopped there.....


    Any additional comments?

    I have NO IDEA what this is doing on the NY Times best seller list.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. KLINGER Lawrence, KS USA 12-24-13
    D. KLINGER Lawrence, KS USA 12-24-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Terrific novel; great audio performance"
    If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

    Best Donna Tartt since The Secret History. Compelling and moving story -- a boy's coming of age in terrible circumstances.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes-- I practically did. I listened every moment I could.


    Any additional comments?

    The reading on this is a tour de force. Multiple characters, foreign accents, all handled beautifully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Siena Raleigh, NC, United States 12-23-13
    Siena Raleigh, NC, United States 12-23-13 Member Since 2012

    Head-first and laughing into the holy-rage calling my name...

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    "Outstanding"
    What made the experience of listening to The Goldfinch the most enjoyable?

    The narration, the sweeping, epic battle between good and bad and our construction of both. The creation of characters so wholly authentic and complete it is hard to say goodbye to them.


    What other book might you compare The Goldfinch to and why?

    I LOVE these broad, sweeping, epic novels the span decades. I would compare it, on one level or another, to White Teeth by Zadie Smith, The Ground Beneath her feet by Rushdie, and Middlesex by Eugenedies.


    What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator is, hands down, the best I have ever heard. The only books I actually *read* are those that are poorly narrated on Audible, so I have listened to hundreds of books. I was constantly blown away at the ease with which Pittu moved back and forth between accents; from Ukranian to Dutch to Locust Valley lockjaw, to Boston Brahmin to mid-Atlantic. Masterful.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Goldfinch and why?

    My god, it is so hard to chose between Boris and Hobie. Boris. Boris who inspires Potter to question the constructs of right and wrong:If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away; stop your ears with wax; ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that would lead you dutifully toward the norm? Reasonable hours and regular medical checkups? Is it better to seek stable relationships and steady career advancements, the New York times and brunch on Sundays - all with the promise of being, somehow, a 'better person'? Or, like Boris, to throw yourself head-first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name? To be a grandeur IN the world but not OF the world.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those books I just could not bring myself to finish. One of those books whose last chapter you dole out selfishly over the course of a week. One of those books that you are sad to finish because it means saying goodbye to characters you cannot phone to catch up with.My favorite book of the year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Main Beach, Australia 12-23-13
    Susan Main Beach, Australia 12-23-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Golden"

    Exquisite story, rich in depth of characters, beauty of human connection and the intensity of soul. I found it difficult to sleep while there were still words to hear of this novel. Thank you Donna Tartt...your work reflected a world both familiar and foreign and will remain with me, like the Goldfinch did to the characters who loved it's timeless beauty.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cherry Bethesda, MD, United States 12-23-13
    cherry Bethesda, MD, United States 12-23-13 Member Since 2013
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    "I could listen to it again!"
    If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

    Great yarn and writing


    What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Perfect characterization of voices in the story. He increased the wonder in the writing.


    Any additional comments?

    One of my favorite all time books. Author painted images with words. Gave me so much philosophy to ponder.....yet it was also just a great story. In all 32 hrs of listening, I was never bored and didn't want the book to be over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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