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The Goldfinch [Paperback]

Donna Tartt
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,548 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

5 Jun 2014

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph - a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (5 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349139636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349139630
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,548 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Bennington College. She is the author of the novels The Secret History, The Little Friend, and The Goldfinch, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014.

Product Description

Review

A glorious novel that pulls together all her remarkable storytelling talents into a rapturous, symphonic whole and reminds the reader of the immersive, stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

The Goldfinch is a triumph . . . Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction (Stephen King New York Times)

An astonishing achievement . . . if anyone has lost their love of storytelling, The Goldfinch will most certainly return it to them. The last few pages of the novel take all the serious, big, complicated ideas beneath the surface and hold them up to the light (Guardian)

A modern epic and an old-fashioned pilgrimage...Dickens with guns, Dostoevsky with pills, Tolstoy with antiques. And if it doesn't gain Tartt entry to the mostly boys' club that is The Great American Novel, to drink with life-members John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth et al, then we should close down the joint and open up another for the Great Global Novel - for that is what this is (Alex O’Connell The Times)

Book Description

Donna Tartt's phenomenally acclaimed new novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why the controversy? 14 Aug 2014
By M. READ
Format:Kindle Edition
Coming a bit late to the party here, I read the novel aware of most of the views expressed, and the deep divisions between reviewers--the majority hailing it as a masterpiece, while a few dissenters slam it. Far be it from me to challenge the professionals, but I think the qualities and faults are pretty clear. No-one surely can deny the charm of Tartt's style, or her ability to set up an intriguing situation (the qualities which made 'The Secret History' so popular). But the problem with an intriguing set-up is that it tends to promise more than it can deliver-- I felt this even with 'The Secret History', which I loved. Here, the last 100 pages are a bit of a mess (maybe that's going slightly too far-- let's say complex and convoluted without enough depth to balance them). But in terms of a reader's pleasure there are whole stretches that are outstanding--for me, particularly the Las Vegas section. Since my taste is always for a novel that tries to do too much rather than too little, I can't help warming even to the excesses. Yes, editors could have taken the scissors to it--but I think they would have taken its heart away--its sense of the richness and complexity of
life.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By PBatBP
Format:Kindle Edition
The structure and pace of the novel is very uneven making it appear as though it has been written at widely different times and under differing circumstances. Hardly surprising given a decade long gestation.
At the start of the novel the portrayal of the main character, the description of the terrorist explosion which kills his mother, and his feelings at his loss are accurate, perceptive and well written. There are other short sections where the author achieves a similar level of understanding and description. Unfortunately however most of the rest of the novel is overshadowed by endless and pointless descriptions, an immature desire to show-off her knowledge / research of drug culture, the antiques "trade" etc. all in a convoluted style of writing.
The thin storyline is one of bleak self-destructiveness and misery with few characters, most of whom are cyphers, having any redeeming features. Most appear to have no moral compass and it is difficult to have any sympathy for them as they make little or no effort to rectify this deficiency.
It is yet another book that I failed to finish; after some 600 pages the tedium simply became too much and it is difficult to believe that anything much would change in the last quarter of the novel.
Overall the book is self-indulgent, repetitive and pretentious. It is way too long and should have been the severely edited before publication. Final verdict - poor and hardly worth the effort.
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499 of 559 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical 24 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover
This is a tough book to review without gushing and without giving away too much of the story. I am going to gush, because in this instance I can't help it, but I'm going to try to avoid giving away too much of the story, because many of the great delights of The Goldfinch come from that rare experience of reading for pleasure: turning the pages to see what happens next, and losing yourself in this world of someone's creation. So try to know as little about this book as you can before you start to read it. The Goldfinch is a novel of many wonderful surprises, whether it's the introduction of both major or minor characters, or plot twists I really never expected, or unexpected shifts of scenery. (And whoa! One change in location in particular is a masterclass in dramatic handling, artfully rendered and most purposefully done.)

But gush isn't enough, so let me just say this: if you're a fan of Harry Potter or Pinocchio or The Wizard of Oz, if you've enjoyed Truman Capote, Jack Kerouac or J.D. Salinger, or Huckleberry Finn or Walt Whitman, if you've had fun with Breaking Bad or Six Feet Under, if you can imagine Dickensian epics retold for the era of global capital and sprinkled with a dose of Buddhist sentiment, if you love the old masters of Dutch painting, if you love dogs, if you love little birds, if you've loved either of Donna Tartt's other novels, if you live for great storytelling, if you think that art can change the world and that we can love unquestioningly (deep breath) ... if any of the above apply to you in any way, there is a good chance that you might like or even (like me) love this book and be totally wrapped in its embrace.

The ending of the book just soars. It moved me to tears.

The Goldfinch is epic, and it's ambitious. The many fantastic reviews are warranted. It takes risks, and they worked magically for me. Books as pleasurable as this are rare events. Yes, I'm gushing.
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83 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance and paradox 13 April 2014
Format:Paperback
Rarely these days does one find a writer brave enough to confront so unflinchingly the desperateness of the human condition in the 21st century. But Donna Tartt is such a writer and it is this which raises her novel The Goldfinch to the highest level of art. The protagonist Theo Decker has been compared to Pip in Great Expectations but the reality is that this is a far darker tale than Dickens' novel.

Dickens shines a light on the bleakness and wickedness at the heart of 19th century British industrial society but in his novels there is always the conviction that good and right will triumph in the end. This was still a Christian world he was writing about after all and his Victorian audience expected a happy ending even if the reality did not quite live up to it.

But the amoral world Theo Decker inhabits following the death of his mother in a terrorist attack in New York, is a world of unrelieved bleakness where there are no certainties any more. Once on the road to corruption through drugs, deception, stealing and dishonesty there is no way back. Without a family to offer some sort of protection or relief, Theo has absolutely no hope in a society which is fundamentally corrupt at every level.

From the well observed social workers whose job is to process Theo through the care system, to the wealthy Barbour family with their coolly efficient lifestyle, concealing fundamental psychological flaws, Donna Tartt paints a picture of quiet desperation where there is no longer any possibility of finding anything that resembles home ever again. It's a picture of alienation and as such utterly convincing. Only with Hobie the antique restorer and Welty's niece Pippa does Theo find a temporary bolt hole where he can genuinely relax.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Very well written, but a depressing read
Published 2 hours ago by Sarah Murphy
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and boring
I read this because of all the hype but I couldn't be more disappointed. Whilst Donna Tartt is obviously a good writer, I found the book too verbose. Read more
Published 10 hours ago by Carla Peplar
5.0 out of 5 stars ... of the author is many a startling truth - beautifully written and...
What a fabulous compelling read - amidst the melancholic musings of the author is many a startling truth - beautifully written and all wrapped up in a devastatingly well structured... Read more
Published 19 hours ago by Mrs Linda A M Wick
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing - unbalanced plot, over focus on contrast ...
Very disappointing - unbalanced plot, over focus on contrast between drug habit ups and downs and of the aesthetically pleasing with reference to the beauty of art, antiques etc.
Published 23 hours ago by TT
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An excellent read but a little too long-winded!
Published 1 day ago by r v lloyd
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Too much description but reasonable read
Published 1 day ago by Pauline Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book with a rubbish end
I really loved and enjoyed this book, full of action and excitement, brilliant characters and a great storyline. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Nicole
5.0 out of 5 stars best book I've read for a long time!
I loved this book! It's like nothing I've read before and I really enjoyed the language and seemingly stream-of-consciousness writing.
Excellent!
Published 1 day ago by bluegrass bel
3.0 out of 5 stars she reads a great deal of well-written stuff
My wife needed this for her book group, but she tells me it is hard going and she doubts she will finish it as it is also very long. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Picky reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Enjoyed this book very much, recommended this book to three others who also liked it.
Published 2 days ago by Yve G
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