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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 (12484 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Veryl Goodnight 04-23-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too Many Drugs!"
    What disappointed you about The Goldfinch?

    The beautiful writing in this book was ruined for me by the constant drug induced state of Theo. It felt as though the writer had to have been under the influence of the various drugs Theo was taking while writing, in order to go on endlessly with such vivid descriptions.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Donna Tartt again?

    No.


    What about David Pittu’s performance did you like?

    The performance was excellent.


    What character would you cut from The Goldfinch?

    None - I would simply cut the drug abuse by 3/4.


    Any additional comments?

    The actual writing is excellent, which kept me hanging in there - always hopeful that Theo would come around to meet his full potential. I would have felt some reward if the ending had not also been an emotional downer, even in the midst of his reform.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie 04-23-14
    Laurie 04-23-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "No sign of hope"

    I agree with others who have suggested that the overly wordy, agonizing descriptions of drug and alcohol stupors make this a painful (not in a good way) book to read. Not Dickensian, in my mind, because his prose is lengthy but tight. I simply gave up about 2 hours before the end when I could find no hope anywhere: none for the book and none for humanity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Kennesaw, GA, United States 04-23-14
    Cynthia Kennesaw, GA, United States 04-23-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    5
    3
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    "In Dire Need of Pruning"

    Donna Tartt can obviously write. And by now her publishers, and Steven King's kind review, have assured The Goldfinch of literary success. Personally I wish she'd had an editor with sharper scissors. Tartt's "Dickensian" bildungsroman really isn't worth the long, long, slog. The alleys and side streets, extraneous characters, and tedious backstories are articulated well, but too many of them do nothing to advance the plot and way, way too often I found myself checking my iPod to make sure I was still in the right book. By the end I didn't much care what happened to Theo, the young hero, or to anybody else. This is one I wish I'd bought in hardcopy. At least then it would have been a serviceable doorstop.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wes1961 Charlotte, NC USA 04-22-14
    Wes1961 Charlotte, NC USA 04-22-14 Member Since 2013

    Val

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Did not want it to end!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Goldfinch the most enjoyable?

    The characters voices made listening to this story rather than reading the book so much more interesting. I could picture what they looked like just by their voices.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Borus was fabulous! He lived for the moment but was also such a great friend to everyone. He was a very intense character.


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

    He did a wonderful job with all of the characters voices.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope they make the movie!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Palm Desert, CA, United States 04-22-14
    Martin Palm Desert, CA, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    146
    3
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    0
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    "Too long and wordy"
    Would you try another book from Donna Tartt and/or David Pittu?

    No on the writer but I would listen to David Pittu again.


    If you’ve listened to books by Donna Tartt before, how does this one compare?

    This was the one and only Donna Tartt book I've listened to.


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

    He does bring the different characters alive, especially Boris. An acceptable dope head.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No, to much drugs and mental problems.


    Any additional comments?

    There were times I skipped forward because the dialog was to long and boring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cecil Phillips Baton Rouge, LA USA 04-22-14
    Cecil Phillips Baton Rouge, LA USA 04-22-14 Member Since 2013

    lifelong student

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Reader is Excellent"
    What did you love best about The Goldfinch?

    Reader David Pittu presents the two main characters so perfectly I cannot imagine that reading the story myself would be nearly so entertaining. A fine example of how a skillful reader can enhance the listening experience.


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

    The story and the psychological effects compare favorably with Dostoevski's "Crime and Punishment." The corresponding main characters are deeply flawed young men, and they endure lengthy struggles with guilt. However, unlike Dostoevski, Tartt imbues this story with a redeeming theme of the influence of fine art on the meaning of life.


    Any additional comments?

    In a sense, this is a book mainly about art. Tartt brings in much detail about decorative art, especially antique furniture, as well as the paintings of the European masters. She wraps up the novel with her views on the age-old questions of the meaning of beauty and the purpose of life. While her conclusions may or may not be studied in college courses on philosophy, they do succeed in lifting a sad tale up to a redeeming perspective on the human condition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Trabuco Canyon, CA, United States 04-22-14
    Amy Trabuco Canyon, CA, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2010

    California Reader

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    Story
    "Well written and Thought Provoking"
    Where does The Goldfinch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the most well written audiobooks that I have purchased. It is a sad and moving story that spans many years in the life of the main character, a boy that is impacted by tragedy at a young age. His experiences from the time of the initial tragedy to the conclusion of the book is much like a saga, with much challenge and some bright spots of hope.


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

    The moment where the main character realizes that his heavy burden is lifted in regards to how to handle the albatross that has been hanging around his neck for many years- the moment when he no longer has to be responsible for the painting.


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

    Boris, the main character's best friend. Despite a difficult upbringing and exposure to many vices at an early age, this friend proves himself to be a true friend.


    Any additional comments?

    An excellent read- very well written and hard to put down. There are many difficult sections of the book, so definitely not a joyful book. However, well worth the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Earljean 04-21-14
    Earljean 04-21-14
    ratings
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    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Seeking a refund"
    Would you try another book from Donna Tartt and/or David Pittu?

    Very disappointed. Narration is irritating and story is slow.


    What could Donna Tartt have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Developed more realistic personalities for the characters.


    Would you be willing to try another one of David Pittu’s performances?

    No


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

    I wouldn't have published it


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lynsey TIGARD, OR, United States 04-20-14
    lynsey TIGARD, OR, United States 04-20-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    5
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    "4hrs in and I don't know if I can continue"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. Perhaps the story gets better with time, (the book is 32 hrs long). I got at least 4-5 hrs in if not more by now. I just can't pick it up again. I agree with many of the reviewers about the long drawn out rehashing of the fact that his mother is gone, and how terrible it is, and how close they were...without any plot advancement. I just don't understand...perhaps you have to have had a tragedy yourself such as this and enjoy it as a kindred spirit might, in the empathetic agony. I kept waiting for the plot to delve into the mysticism of the art world as I read it would....or may, or some character growth, or anything new at all...but it just hasn't happened and I no longer have the patience. I'm sorry if this book really takes off and I am missing out, but I may not have the chance to get there as long as I am able to continue dl'ing more interesting books.

    The other issue for me, may be the author's voice or his interpretation of the character's voices. Too whiny, or perhaps frail is a better term; for me. Each character sounds like they just woke up, and maybe are feeling a little sick. Usually it takes me a while to adjust to a new author which each book, but usually I do. Every time I picked up this novel, the voices were irritating. I think he does do the different inflections of the different characters well, but the tone did not work for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dootise Sharon pa 04-20-14
    Dootise Sharon pa 04-20-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    2
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    "Captivating"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book will keep your attention engaged at all times.


    What did you like best about this story?


    Cleo's memories of his mother and the influence she had in his life.


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

    The accent of the Russian friend brought the story alive.


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

    The entire story was emotional but neither tears or laughter.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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