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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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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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good story

captured interest without a bunch of sex and not too much violence. performance was great.

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Quite a read!

I truly enjoyed this epic novel of self reveal. I couldn't stop listening. It as a marathon of listening. The twists and turns and give and take were spectacular. Getting to know each character in depth was a true plus. This is what endeared me to each one, even though it was hard to really like them, I grew to understand them.

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Not the Great American Novel, but good anyway

I have heard the opinion expressed that this might just be the latest candidate for The Great American Novel. I’m not sure I would go that far. There is too much drinking and drugs in it for my taste. But that said, that would seem to make it highly relevant to a lot of people and also contribute to making it appear to be an accurate portrayal of life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Theodore Decker and his mother are in an art museum in New York and have just finished viewing a picture called “The Goldfinch.” Theo’s mother, getting ready to leave, heads out toward the gift shop. Theo, having seen a girl whose attention he would like to catch, lingers behind for a minute. Just then a terrorist bomb goes off killing Theo’s mother and changing his life forever.

The descriptions (mostly flashbacks) of Theo’s life with his mother and the surreal scene in the museum after the explosion where he talks with the girl’s uncle after the explosion while he is still too dazed to realize what has happened are very good and captivating. While Theo is talking with the uncle, he finds the Goldfinch picture on the floor, blown out of its frame. Not fully aware of what he is doing, he picks it up and puts it in a bag with a bunch of other stuff he is collecting for safe keeping. He never really means to steal the picture, but later he is unable to think of a way to return it without getting in trouble.

After the attack, Theo spends years trying to stay out of state custody. He lodges at first with an old school friend, becoming much more a part of their family than is obvious to anyone at first. Just when it looks like this arrangement may become permanent, his father and his father’s new girlfriend show up and whisk him off to Las Vegas. There he meets up with the ne’er-do-well Boris, a brilliant but twisted Polish-Ukrainian immigrant, whose father, like his own, is an alcoholic. Despite this, you can’t help liking Boris. The boys, largely left to their own devices, become alcoholic drug users as well.

When Theo’s father is suddenly killed in an automobile accident, he quickly absconds with the dog and what he thinks is the painting back to New York, where many more adventures await him before he finally goes on the most dangerous of them all, to try to locate the painting again.

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Loved

I have listened to this on audio book twice. I highly recommend. Great novel!

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Interesting

Well thought out story, even with a few twists you may not see coming. Fully developed characters who were completely brought to life by the wonderful narrator . Was a bit wordy at times with dizzying descriptions.

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Editor Should Have Gutted the Book

Would you try another book from Donna Tartt and/or David Pittu?

No. Tedious. Overwritten. Details serving absolutely no purpose. Where was the editor?

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

Stopped repeating sentences with "like". Not gone into so much detail about how slowly the old man died. Cut out half the sentences. The story barely held together at some points. Irrational, unrealistic actions by the main character.

How could the performance have been better?

I cringed when the narrator did a woman's voice.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I hung in there hoping to see why the book is popular. The ending just droned on and on about painting and how it relates to life.

Any additional comments?

The voice for Boris and his dialogue were interesting and gave me something to enjoy.

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diapointed

I really didn't want to take the time to write a review on this book comma because I really didn't enjoy it. I didn't even finish it. to me it was just a lot of adolescent boys talking to one another about the things they talk to each other about which I have no interest in. actually I found it irritating and couldn't finish it. I felt bad that I had spent the money on buying the book

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Amazing store you won't put it down.

This story is full of twists and turns that will keep you interested. Some times so sad curious. What's gone to happen next.

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interesting and well written

loved this book! excellent narration, great story telling, and gripping. main characters are full, real people who the writer really takes time to get you to understand.

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whew

A very long winded book. It was fine, however I would not read it again. The narration, however, made it worth the time.