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The Goldfinch [Paperback]

Donna Tartt
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,109 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 (1,109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2 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
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death, addiction and an overdose of words 22 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought after a friends recommendation, initially griping and totally absorbing. You feel for the young fella Theo, a modern day Pinocchio - not knowing his conscience, unable to tell right and wrong but empathy wains through his adolescent years and young adulthood, with the daily repetition of numbing his way through life with copious drink, drugs and petty theft that turns him into passive invisible character. A coming of age piece of fiction, rooted in our time with tons of cultural consumer references.
All wrapped up in the blurred lines of morality and the beauty of art compared to banality of life.

I enjoyed most of this book but at times found the writing irritatingly overly descriptive without purpose and the pace two thirds through stalls and the storytelling gets lost within itself. It picks up with the awaited but implausible reappearance of
lost characters with a plot twist that pushes us through to the finale but it's consequences brings on another heavy dose
of long-winded indulgent self loathing. This actually built up my hopes for darker untypical 'neat and tidy' American pop ending
but no .. and when the story eventually ends, so should the book .. but no! We are preached at for 20 more pages.

Still it's a good yarn.

So many have commented upon .. a lack of strong editing, I totally agree the book could have been intensely better.
I do hope Tartt does eventually sells the rights and the film version is only 'based' on the book ..
giving over the story into the right hands and paired down to it's essence, this it would be an absolute cracker!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fabulously involving and laugh out loud funny on occasion. This is a lengthy novel of serious literary intent. It poses a real dilemma about the place of beauty in our lives and ownership of beauty. The narrator falls into a dark place from onset and this gets so bad later in the novel that my sympathy for him failed a little, but he does come out into the light eventually and I enjoyed the ending. Boris is a wonderful literary creation although he does fall firmly into the lovable rogue category: I loved his Meer Cat accent and that the only book he had ever read was "Dragon Tattoo". The questions this novel poses stay with you.
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442 of 493 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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60 of 67 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
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Read
I really enjoyed this book
Published 1 hour ago by J. Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a book club read and would definitely recommend it! I will try...
Well written and keeps you hooked. I cant put it down. This is a book club read and would definitely recommend it ! I will try another of her books as very good.
Published 2 hours ago by AnnieRobertson
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read. Not a quick and superfluous sun-bed book.
A story on 3 levels, therefore accessible to all.
The life story of a young boy dealing with multiple tragedy and trauma, his inability to make sound decisions and subsequent... Read more
Published 2 hours ago by Elizabeth Thatcher
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Starts very well but slow at the end. A few hundred pages too long?
Published 3 hours ago by Ann Louise Kinmonth
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent read. long engaging well written
an excellent read. long engaging well written. the twists and turns of the protagonist's fate keep one absorbed and turning the pages
highly recommended.
Published 5 hours ago by Mrs. Marie T. Mcdaniel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read
Published 7 hours ago by DWC
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 hours ago by Alison Roberts
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, long and boring book. Steer clear if you want...
Read Donna Dartt's Secret History and loved it. This couldn't be any different; long, endless description of random things with very little happening. Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Eliza
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book
I found the book very gripping and enjoyed the descriptions of all the characters and their relationships with Theo
I didn't like some of the dialogue between Theo and Boris,... Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Maureen Michelmore
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really enjoyed this book.
Published 23 hours ago by K from Chichester
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