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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 (8655 )
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  •  
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 12-09-13
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 12-09-13 Member Since 2009

    procrastinator

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best book I listened to this year"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes its just a great story, authentic, unusual. I was sad when it was over.


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

    There were times I wanted to compare it to GREAT EXPECTATIONS. It has a little bit of that feel. The writing is modern though. I can't really compare the story to other books, but if you like stuff like THE ART OF FIELDING, you'll probably enjoy this one.


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

    Narration was awesome. But his Boris character, and all of the russian voices, were most excellent.


    Any additional comments?

    Just such a great book. So much of it is unexpected too. There were so many points in this book where I found myself impatient, dying to know what had happened or what a character was about to explain. It was really amazing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger ROCKLAND, MA, United States 12-09-13
    Roger ROCKLAND, MA, United States 12-09-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Never wanted it to end"
    Would you listen to The Goldfinch again? Why?

    I would listen again. There is so much detail that binds this story together. I often listen to books a second time to see if I can be further surprised.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The journey and exploration of life's ups and downs


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

    I always admire a narrator that can truly bring the characters to life in an individual way. Pittu's voice and cadence was great


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I'd have to think on this one


    Any additional comments?

    It seemed in the first couple of chapters that the details were almost to intense; after that I yearned for more. Definitely an enjoyable listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacklyn WALNUT CREEK, CA, United States 12-02-13
    Jacklyn WALNUT CREEK, CA, United States 12-02-13
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    23
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    "Fascinating from beginning to end"
    Where does The Goldfinch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The characters and circumstances are creative and eloquently drew me into an unimaginable world. I was very sorry to reach the end of the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Jenkins Old Chatham, NY 12-02-13
    Jenny Jenkins Old Chatham, NY 12-02-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "David Pittu gave an amazing performance!"
    What did you love best about The Goldfinch?

    The characters brought completely to life by both Donna Tartt's writing and David Pittu's acting (much more than narration). I came to know Andy so well through David Pittu's realization of him. Really special experience. I found myself missing Andy so much the other day.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Boris because I so related to his feral ability to devour life as it came. (Friends and families would laugh, I know -- and yet that's the power of a great novel, right? A sedate middle-aged bourgeois lady thinks that Boris is her!)


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

    No, I was so sorry to see he has mainly read middle school novels -- not even young adult ones! I cannot wait to hear him read some other


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

    Kept me riveted most of the time. And I didn't even love Theo Decker, the narrator. But loved the philosophical turns the novel took -- probably more than I loved the "we are suddenly in a European thriller/mystery" turns. And I did love all the antiques world details, too. So many different worlds brought completely to life. Well done, Donna Tartt!


    Any additional comments?

    Expressed so much about the power of art for me. Just when the novel seemed to veer into the predictable or the corny, it swerves away and stays true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Lincoln, NE, United States 12-01-13
    Michelle Lincoln, NE, United States 12-01-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I can't praise Tartt's novel highly enough. First, I must say that I've recommended this book to numerous people--both print and audio versions--and my friends and family who have read it agree that it is an amazing book. As _The Goldfinch_ has received a lot of buzz, there are loads of reviews, many of which draw comparisons between Tartt and Dickens. These comparisons are apt. _The Goldfinch_ is _Great Expectations_ in the Age of Terrorism. Tartt's language is so meticulous, so expressive, and her characters are as vivid as any Dickensian creation. Tartt employs them with a deft hand, offering her reader a believable, living, breathing story but maintaining the magic a reader expects from a great novel. In other words, this is a writer who clearly treasures a well-told tale. Language matters. Atmosphere matters. Patterns of thought matter.This is a must read for anyone who loves to be enveloped by lush language and lost in intricate storytelling. I was enthralled from the very beginning and was sincerely sad when it was over (isn't this, after all, the measure of a great novel?). The conclusion is truly careful, not a rush to tie together loose ends. In the end, all tales are beautifully concluded in the most moving way. This is a true marvel.


    What about David Pittu’s performance did you like?

    Pittu's performance was incomparable. He brings to life the vivid characters and their own individual characteristics. The voices are expressive, but they are never camp--the accents are great. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another of his recordings.


    Any additional comments?

    _The Goldfinch_ didn't make so many of the "Best Books" lists for nothing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Lawrence, KS, United States 12-01-13
    Angie Lawrence, KS, United States 12-01-13
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    "Excruciating detail"
    What would have made The Goldfinch better?

    Donna Tartt seems to have been going for quantity. Scenes are dragged out ad nauseum, and the experiences of the main character, Theo, are overwrought.


    What was most disappointing about Donna Tartt’s story?

    Most detail is overdone, and many details are ignored, making the scenes implausible. Common laws of nature and legalities are overlooked. Some facts are inconsistent.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Theo has returned to New York City, laden with a suitcase and a dog, yet he still seems to be able to outrun people who are chasing him.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Goldfinch?

    I would have encouraged a great economy of words throughout. Make your point, move on.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan C. Fedor Columbia, SC 11-30-13
    Susan C. Fedor Columbia, SC 11-30-13 Member Since 2009

    Student Gardener

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    "Accents"
    Would you listen to The Goldfinch again? Why?

    The Russian accent was so irritating to listen to that I had to go back to the print version of this book to finish. Listening to the Boris parts was too irritating to bear. Also, editing would have improved this book immensely.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Washington, DC, USA 11-30-13
    Mary Washington, DC, USA 11-30-13 Member Since 2003
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    "Best book in a long time"

    This was the first book I've listened to/read in a long time where I wanted to start it again immediately upon finishing. Its a little dark - but the characters are so vivid. I saw the actual Goldfish painting at the Frick last week. It made the book even more special although I tried not to think about the bombing as I looked at it. The narrator was great - very different voices. I completely lost myself in the story and the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Portland, OR, United States 11-30-13
    Karen Portland, OR, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A failure of technique"

    I do respect the fact that it took Donna Tartt more than a decade to write this book. It is L-O-N-G, which is not, for me, a deterrent to enjoyment. In fact, I grew so used to the steady rhythm of this book that I was taken aback when the rhythm changed toward the end. I understand that the author felt the need to pontificate a bit, and I may be all alone when I object to this slightly. When Theo expresses his philosophies at the end, this seems (to me) almost a failure of authorship. Generally speaking, an author chooses a character or characters to pronounce the theme(s) of the book, and Boris does quite a good job at this, and so does Hobie. I realize that Theo has something else, something additional, to say, but the clever use of a literary device might make it more palatable than just smacking us over the head with it at the end, thereby compromising the warp and weave of the book's fabric. Maybe she tried doing it a different way, and Theo just had SO MUCH to say that it didn't work through dialogue. Then, I would argue that it is TOO much. It's like a Steven Spielberg movie, when he is so insecure sometimes about the theme that he takes us by the hand and leads us to it, and then yells, "SEE!" He does this, especially, in Empire of the Sun, which I loved. But I felt insulted that he had such little respect for the viewers' intelligence. I feel the same about Donna Tartt. I want to holler, "I get it, I get it, already!"

    Having said all that, I did love the book. I loved what it had to say, and (mostly) I loved how it said it. I think, like all things, what we take away from a book is up to the reader. I refuse to sink into nihilism with Theo, although he does expound at great length about the middle ground where beauty and love exist. I think he has not much partaken of those things, but perhaps he will. Who knows?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Long Beach, CA, United States 11-30-13
    Kindle Customer Long Beach, CA, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2005

    John

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best novel I've read this year"

    David Pittu brings his gifts as a wonderful stage actor to this work. Each of the characters is vivid and distinct. The novel is, like many of Dickens', about the journey a young boy takes and the people he meets there. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, and was sad to see it end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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