The Goldfinch

Narrated by: David Pittu
Length: 32 hrs and 24 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (34,974 ratings)

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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

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One ruinous moment

I was bedazzled and enchanted by this novel, and I enjoyed the fairly low-key narration of the audiobook. I have no need to repeat what knowledgeable reviewers have said regarding the quality and impact of The Goldfinch. I do have a personal comment on just one thing, and it has to do with the production, not the book itself: After immersing myself completely in the 32 hours of its reading, allowing the author's craft to lead me along, inch by inch, to the very moving conclusion, my savoring of the last words was shattered by the sudden intrusion of a ridiculous crescendo of music, as though, after all that brilliant writing, I needed help "feeling" the book. What an insult to the art of writing and the intelligence and sensitivity of the reader! I'm going to be wandering into a local bookstore soon just to read those last words to myself, in silence, free from the influence of any marketing expert's ill-conceived attempt to program my reactions to them. Audible, feel free to be frivolous with frivolous books, but please, let serious works of fiction stand on their merits; they need no heavy-handed assistance in performing their magic.

376 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Boy, am I in the minority on this one.

I wanted very much to love this book. I loved Secret History. I'm almost 3/4 of the way through The Goldfinch, trying to hang in there, switching it off in irritation . . . thinking "this is getting such positive reviews; maybe it ends up somewhere better than this," switching it back on . . . and now I'm giving up. It has a great story idea. The opening, particularly once we get to the museum, is very well done. Most of the rest of the book I found incredible repetitive and overwritten. Often the writing is just not good. The author uses seven descriptive terms rather than choosing the best. The protagonist often walks around dazed, confused, blasted out of his mind, stoned out of his mind, and did I mention dazed and confused? It beggars belief that someone this drug- and alcohol-addicted could make it to the age of 27 or 30 able to function in his job and without the people around him noticing. I wanted to send him to rehab. People ask him questions and he repeatedly answers "huh?" "what?" "but –" There is some good in the book, certainly. Boris is a great character and David Pittu does such a good job with him that he keeps talking in my head. Overall I feel David Pittu tries too hard to inflect every single word, and it's exhausting. Let the words speak for themselves. I feel the book is at least half again as long as it should have been. How many detailed and exhaustive scenes of teenage boys getting blasted, stoned and drunk do we need to convey this part of the narrator's life? It just goes on and on. Like my review. So I'll sign off now.

1,183 people found this helpful

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Get To The Point!!!

I liked the narrator very much. I simply could not get through this audiobook, however. After listening to the first chapter which took an eternity to go nowhere, I turned it off when the narrator said "chapter 2" and realized there were still over 30 hours remaining. Donna Tartt is an excellent writer, but can take over twenty minutes to make a statement or observation that can be made in one with the same impact. This particular over-detail of minutia is the same reason I stopped reading Anne Rice novels. This was just not for me.

69 people found this helpful

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Stellar narration but depressing story

Wow, I got through this lengthy, drug and alcohol fueled story by wanting to find out what happens. Not glad I did. It got maudlin and depressing with long descriptions of drug-fueled dreams/trips. The narrator was so wonderful though. The accents were great and each character had a distinct voice. I will look for more books read by him. The book starts out with a literal bang and is very exciting at first, but quickly goes downhill where we meet more and more damaged people and sad things keep happening.

217 people found this helpful

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Tried twice couldn't make it through

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

There is no doubt this is an interesting story idea but it is a slog to get through. Scenes are painfully long and tedious. The book would benefit from some editing. Maybe half as long would have been more than enough.

My second attempt was in a 14 hour care ride with my wife. Nothing else to do but listen to the book. We made it about 4 hours before we gave up

Would you ever listen to anything by Donna Tartt again?

I would only give Donna Tart another try if the reviews were by people who didn't like this book and could explain why the other book was different. Her writing is terrific but the pacing is glacial.

136 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A stunning achievement - for author and narrator

No question, this will be on my "favorite books of the year" list - and very near the top. Tartt examines some very big topics - love, loss, death, life, forgiveness, redemption and addiction - and she does so with a skill that's secondary to none.

The main characters are BIG - in personality, flaws, strengths - and enormously engaging. I adored Theo, Boris and Hobie and have loved having them live at my house while I was listening. There's a sense of loss now that they're gone.

I've read some harsh reviews of the narrator and I don't understand that. I thought he was perfect for this book. It was a fresh take. His interpretation of both Boris and Hobie was delightful. I never would have imagined those voices if I'd read this in print. It was an added dimension that made it all the more enjoyable.

With more than 30 hours of engaging story, this is one of the most credit-worthy books around. Really, what could be better? It's a good long listen that's beautifully read. I wish they were always this good.

313 people found this helpful

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A Bildungsroman worth tackling.

The Goldfinch is well worth the time investment that it takes to complete this book. It's truly entertaining and brilliantly written. I was instantly captivated while I ebbed and flowed right along with Tartt's work. I think the best way to describe this book would be a present day Oliver Twist or Great Expectations. Tartt writes the male perspective extremely well and seems to grow right along with the protagonist. One of my parents died when I was thirteen years old. This book brought similar thoughts and feelings that I had at that age that I had forgotten. The author, if not orphaned herself, is extremely intuitive.

In the Goldfinch, Theo Rekker . the protagonist, narrowly escapes a terrorist attack at 13 years old that takes he lives of many, including his mother. Since she has been his guardian parent, he is now at the mercy of others. From seconds after the incident he meets extraordinary people that form his life over the next 14 years.

Tartt brings in just the right amount of characters and gave each the perfect amount of weight. to the story. She also didn't dwell too much on any point, brought in new characters and events at just the right time, keeping a fascinating pace. Is The Goldfinch perfect..no. The last hour was like listening to Charlie Brown's teacher, for me. I can't understand why this book ended this way. It felt like the book lost its final chapter and moved right into the epilogue. In spite of that - it's still a wonderful book that I am glad I read.

David Pittu's narration is breath taking. Xandra, a female character, speaks and instantly we know that she is a user whom smokes and works in as a cocktail waitress. Each and every voice is crafted in a similar manner. One does not need to wait till the author lays out the charactor like when someone was near death or drunk for Pittu created the picture through voice. I was completely blown away by his performance.

109 people found this helpful

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Wow

Where does The Goldfinch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top Five for sure, probably second after Infinite Jest.

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

Performances like this are difficult to compare

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

All fantastic

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

It's too long to listen to in one sitting. Also, this audiobook is not one to blow through as fast as possible. It is one to take your time with. It is one to appreciate for the writing and the narration.

Any additional comments?

This book starts off a little slow, but stay with it. You'll be glad you did. It incrementally gets better up until the very end. I didn't want it to be over. Some books, or audiobooks, give the listener/reader a sense of satisfaction after finishing it. I haven't felt that type of satisfaction since listening to Infinite Jest. And while The Goldfinch didn't strike me in the way that Infinite Jest did, it came close, and I never thought another book would. The narrator is amazing. The writer is amazing, and it takes both to create a performance so perfect. Listen to it. You won't be sorry.

107 people found this helpful

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Best Narration I have heard-magnificent story

The 30 plus hours that it takes to listen to this amazing tale rush by in a blink.
Theo grabbed me from the very first paragraphs and I spent days with him . These days were filled with sorrow, laughter, horror, incredulity and accompanied by a very colorful characters.
The story is unique and Theo and his family,friends,enemies and mere acquaintances are brought to life with the impeccable narration by Mr Pittu.
His accents are spot-on, and there is never any doubt as to which character is speaking.
The book is never slow or dull , has many surprises and will have you staying up until 2 am to sneak in just a few more pages
By far the best i have heard on Audible.

Just a personal note- i have the book in print and was unable to get past the first hundred pages.

Kudos to Mr Pittu .

7 people found this helpful

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All the Heart Eyes

What I'd heard was: "Dickensian!" "Art theft!" I was hardly prepared for a book so beautiful, mysterious, dark and strange; one that made me laugh and ache.

6 people found this helpful