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The Goldfinch [Paperback]

Donna Tartt
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,360 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 (1,360 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7 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


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
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Goldfinch 13 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I discovered Donna Tartt through The Secret History and, although I enjoyed The Little Friend, I didn't feel it was in the same league as her debut. So, I approached this novel with some trepidation but, I am delighted to say, it was unnecessary. This is a masterpiece - in fact, it may well end up considered her greatest work. A huge, sweeping novel, which takes you on a roller coaster ride, doesn't let up for a minute, and has a breathtaking ending.

Theo Decker is a young boy when we meet him, who lives with his mother in an apartment block in New York. His father has left and his greatest worry at that point is that he has been suspended from school. On his way to a meeting with his headteacher, Theo and his mother visit an art gallery and his life changes forever. A bomb explodes and Theo is unable to find his mother. Instead, he finds an injured, elderly man, who he had seen before wandering the gallery with a young girl. Before dying, the man gives Theo a ring and he also takes a painting - The Goldfinch, a masterpiece painted in the 1600's. That whole scene is like a dreamscape, as Theo emerges onto the street almost unnoticed and returns home. However, he cannot remain alone forever and, before long, social workers emerge on the scene. From that moment on, Theo is shuttled from place to place. He spends time at the home of a school friend, visits the antique shop of the man he saw in the gallery and finds his business partner, James Hobart 'Hobie' and meets the girl, Pippa, is reclaimed by his estranged father, befriends another lost soul, Boris, at his new home in LA, before returning to New York. Throughout his travels, Theo is neglected, often lonely, always feels an outsider and, although he fears discovery, clings to the painting that he took that day. It is meaningless to say more - this is a huge book and you will need to give it your time and attention, but it will reward you amply. A stunning achievement and possibly the best book of the year.
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478 of 534 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical 24 Oct 2013
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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74 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance and paradox 13 April 2014
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Donna Tartt!
Donna Tartt's epic novel of over 800 pages chronicles the life of Theo Decker following the tragic death of his beloved mother in a terrorist attack. Read more
Published 9 hours ago by Christine Frost
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Published 10 hours ago by suepearls
2.0 out of 5 stars Lif'e too short!
Long-winded and tedious. The language is excellent and the story is interesting but it is overlong and bogged down with unneccessary descriptive detail and, in my view, would have... Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Susan Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
mixes reality imagination and a brilliant protagonist in one . philosophically it doesn't cut corners and challenges the reader right through. loved it.
Published 21 hours ago by Alisonfle
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is hard to get into and even harder ...
This book is hard to get into and even harder to maintain any interest in.
If I was in my gullible teens and felt a need to idolise the seedy world of drugs, alcoholism and... Read more
Published 1 day ago by A. V. Cruikshank
4.0 out of 5 stars the goldfinch
good narrative - interesting read - too many - out of the blue; all of a sudden - reappearance of the characters for the story to continue - enjoyed the philosophy linked with the... Read more
Published 1 day ago by sarita singh
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual
A very unusual story. Took me some time to get into the characters, although i did not have much sympathy with them, but neverthe less a good read. Read more
Published 1 day ago by S. Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Wonderful story totally absorbing
Published 1 day ago by Avril Nightingale
1.0 out of 5 stars ... slowly trawling through this book mainly because I paid good money...
I am slowly trawling through this book mainly because I paid good money for it, otherwise it would have been thrown away within the first chapter. Read more
Published 1 day ago by P. CLARE
4.0 out of 5 stars Like sugar gives you a rush, but can also, at times, be too much
I really liked ‘The Goldfinch’, but I didn’t absolutely love it. Actually, until about half way through I was loving it, but after that, although I liked it, and always felt... Read more
Published 1 day ago by SH
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