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Editorial 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

Critic Reviews

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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    11,903
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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  • Story

Mixed feelings

I thought the story was great, but it was very tedious most of the time. It would have been much better if it was about 1/3 shorter. The end was a little anticlimactic. One day I may eat the book to read the last few chapter or so, it was a long philosophical/art rambling. By the time I had made it that far, I was just ready for it to be over.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • April
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • 03-02-17

Much too long

What did you like best about The Goldfinch? What did you like least?

The characters were well developed however the scenes were entirely too long. This book would have been better had it been half as long. It was tiresome.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

My reaction was "Thank God" I finally finished this book...<br/>It's a good read but as I already mentioned, entirely too long!

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

If it was a movie? It'd be something like 6 hours long...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lindsey
  • NOBLESVILLE, IN, United States
  • 01-16-17

Skillful writer, but too lengthy for the story that it told.

It was well-written; the author clearly has skill, which is appreciated. But, the story spent a long time telling not so much. It could have been more compelling if shortened, and less extraneous details were included. After investing 30 hours listening, I felt let down in the end. I did speed up the reading to 1.5 times halfway through because I felt like I was just trying to get through it at that point.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Endless

Too many words! Unnecessary word in my opinion. On and on and on. I kept yelling 'stop!' Ay my car radio. Felt that way when I was reading and listening. This story did not need so many words!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • N.L.
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 08-30-16

Too long, too slow, too overwritten

What disappointed you about The Goldfinch?

The beginning of the book immediately got me hooked and I thought I would be in for a good story given it's got great reviews.

What was most disappointing about Donna Tartt’s story?

It was way too overwritten and it dragged on and on and on and on and on and on. I kept hoping that something big would happen but I had that feeling all the way til the very end of the book. I almost gave up finishing it but I was at the 6 hours left mark and thought I should but let me tell you that it was really painful to make it to the end.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator did a great job.

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

Every scene could have been shorten by not obsessively describing every single tiny detail/feeling/scenario to death. The book could have easily been at least 6 hours shorter.

Any additional comments?

Don't bother if you're looking for something to keep you awake. I had to stop listening many times because it was simply too boring to keep my attention. 30 hours is a really long audio book and I kept stopping and wishing it would just end. I almost begged for it to end. It was really painful to make it to the end but since I spent a credit on it, I felt the need to just let it play while coming in and out of paying attention to the rambling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Would have been great...if it was half as long

This was an amazing story, however the book was so long and drawn out that I really did not enjoy reading it. I am not sure how this became a best seller. Ultimately i found myself feeling sorry for the main characters as they all left the story somewhat broken and never really getting what they wanted in life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Listen rather than read The Goldfinch

What did you love best about The Goldfinch?

The narration by David Pittu.

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

David Pittu made the audio book. He was the star of the story. I doubt I could have read this long story myself, but listening to Pittu's narration made it worth the time. The Goldfinch is long and involved. Some sections could be cut much shorter and should have been. The ending was very satisfying which was a relief. Plan to invest a lot of time if you want to get from start to finish.

Any additional comments?

Glad I listened and I do recommend The Goldfinch to others.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Too long!

What did you like best about The Goldfinch? What did you like least?

I liked the characters & the story. The philosophical ideas presented were interesting, but way overdone (too wordy).

Would you be willing to try another book from Donna Tartt? Why or why not?

Maybe. I wouldn't have gotten through this one if I had been reading rather than listening.

What about David Pittu’s performance did you like?

Very expressive. Not sure about the Russian accents, but for all I know they could have been spot on.

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

Yes, I think it would make a good movie.

Any additional comments?

The book really should have been about half as long as it was. Excellent description of how depression feels in Chapter 15. If I didn't know the author's name was "Donna", I would have assumed it was written by a man. I'd be interested to hear from male readers if they think she does a credible job of writing in the voice of a man.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Needed editing

Any additional comments?

The book has exactly one interesting character--a young Ukrainian named Boris. Otherwise the book was too long and is overrated. Hard to believe so many favorable reviewers read or listened to the entire book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Way too many words

Any additional comments?

It seemed to me that scenes kept being reviewed and rewritten without any editing. After finding my self thinking for about the fourth time "This has already been said and resaid," I lost interest and went on to something else.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful