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The Goldfinch [Paperback]

Donna Tartt
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,639 customer reviews)
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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 (1,639 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31 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
27 of 27 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anyone familiar with Ms Tartt's previous books will not be surprised that this is a complex, weighty novel which runs to many hundreds of pages. I hugely enjoyed both The Secret History and My Little Friend, and the first third of The Goldfinch sees the author at the peak of her powers. Thereafter however I felt like the novel went a bit off piste. Too many co-incidences (the main character seems to spend his whole time in New York bumping into people he knows) and some characters are rendered surprisingly two dimensional, make the rest of the novel entertaining but not excellent. The author uses the final few pages to explicitly lay out the life philosophy which she has spent the previous 700 pages alluding to, something I was pretty dismayed to read. If you don't trust the audience to 'get it' in the first place, don't insult their intelligence by changing narrative style right at the end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By RJF
Format:Kindle Edition
There are good things in this book, but I would have preferred it if she had been much more ruthless in a further redraft and cut it in half. Half way through I got bored and almost put the book down. Some of the characters are good - especially the protagonist Theo - but some are really caricatured, like Boris and Hobie. The descriptive passages are not tightly written - too many adverbs/adjectives! Many of the twists and turns are totally unconvincing, like the engagement (I won't say whose engagement!). The worst part is the end, where Tartt feels the need to give you a philosophical interpretation of the story. We can interpret by ourselves! I again seriously considered stopping reading in the last chapter, which is pretty amazing after so many hundreds of pages.
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86 of 96 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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507 of 568 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars and enjoy!
The long awaited 3rd Novel is superb. Many Authors, including Stephen King have stated
this as a classic. I could not put it down. Buy it, and enjoy!
Published 3 hours ago by jon de bolt
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Repeats herself and drags on hard to keep a interest.
Published 17 hours ago by leo o kane
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Bought as present for daughter, she can't understand why all the hype, it's ok
Published 20 hours ago by Grace Colbert
5.0 out of 5 stars I have loved everything Donna Tartt has written and The Goldfinch is...
I have loved everything Donna Tartt has written and The Goldfinch is no exception. An extraordinary story and not what I was expecting at all. Read more
Published 20 hours ago by CSPike
1.0 out of 5 stars Too long -awful. Started off promising, but then ...
Too long -awful. Started off promising, but then was downhill all the way, couldn't be bothered to finish it.
Published 21 hours ago by Cle
2.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes less can be more.
Too long. The story started well but this tomb went on too long and consequently lost it's power to hold my attention.
Published 22 hours ago by alimaeb
4.0 out of 5 stars but have enjoyed what I've read so far
Still reading this book, but have enjoyed what I've read so far. Its well written, flows easily and keeps the reader involved.
Published 1 day ago by AMS
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable
OK. All right. I'm going to do this. I'm actually going to attempt reviewing this book in a way that does not give too much way, but somewhat conveys how I felt about it. Read more
Published 1 day ago by S. Shamma
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome gritty read
Published 1 day ago by julie bryan
3.0 out of 5 stars Soooooo Long
Another attempt at the "great american novel"?

I enjoyed the descriptions of the dissolute drug lifestyle and the "behind the scenes" of the art world... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Patrick Hannay
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