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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't remember a book I enjoyed more. I was quite bereft when I reached ...
I can't remember a book I enjoyed more. I was quite bereft when I reached the end, as I realised that I would no longer be able to delve into the lives of Theo, Boris, Hobie and Pippa. Ms Tartt writes beautifully and although it may sound like a contradiction, as the novel is quite long - sparely. Every word is there for a reason. In short, I loved it. Have bought it for...
Published 9 months ago by Jenny Craig

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a struggle
This book was a bit of a struggle to get through, compared to 'The Secret History' (which is wonderful), it was very slow and i hate to say it, boring, in places. The first few chapters are wonderful and gripped me straight away, and I couldn't wait to read on, but as the story went on, I became frustrated and started to dislike Theo. There are some parts of the book I...
Published 9 months ago by littleblueboat


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't remember a book I enjoyed more. I was quite bereft when I reached ..., 26 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Paperback)
I can't remember a book I enjoyed more. I was quite bereft when I reached the end, as I realised that I would no longer be able to delve into the lives of Theo, Boris, Hobie and Pippa. Ms Tartt writes beautifully and although it may sound like a contradiction, as the novel is quite long - sparely. Every word is there for a reason. In short, I loved it. Have bought it for my mum and have recommended it to many others. Thanks Ms Tartt for a book I will remember for the rest of my life.
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94 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why the controversy?, 14 Aug. 2014
By 
M. READ (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Goldfinch (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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a struggle, 29 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Kindle Edition)
This book was a bit of a struggle to get through, compared to 'The Secret History' (which is wonderful), it was very slow and i hate to say it, boring, in places. The first few chapters are wonderful and gripped me straight away, and I couldn't wait to read on, but as the story went on, I became frustrated and started to dislike Theo. There are some parts of the book I think everyone should read, it is beautifully written, but i'm not sure i would recommend it as a 'must read'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never mind the plot, admire the writing, 11 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Kindle Edition)
I very much enjoyed 'The Secret History', I have a copy of 'The Little Friend' which I really must read (!) but have read 'The Goldfinch'. I was interested to read other reviews because I had mixed feelings about this one. It is a very long book, but that doesn't matter because for my Donna Tartt will always be about the writing and not about the plot. The plot is as it is, it is interesting enough, one doesn't really care about any of the characters; the only character Tartt makes us care about is a pet dog. None of the characters are particularly likeable. There are a couple of characters who are a bit one-dimensional, but in general the plot rolls along and is enjoyable.
What I am always astonished by in Donna Tartt's writing itself. The beginning of the book is quite incredible. The aftermath of an explosion, which comes as a complete surprise (you know something is going to happen, Tartt takes you this way and that anticipating it but it still comes as a surprise) is stupendous. Tartt has a wonderful way of writing about confusion, shock, and high adrenaline stuff - like in 'The Secret History' where the character runs through the night - and takes us brilliantly into the mind of the main character at that point. After this, there is a long section where the character is living in Las Vegas, where nothing happens, there is just desert, sand, and constant sunshine beating down day after day. Many reviews have complained about the length of this section but for me it was the best part of the book, as the endless narrative and the nothingness of the activity just captured the mood of this part of the novel; it was fantastically languid. For me this felt like a narrative device rather than Tartt trying to fill pages. The book moves on well, but towards the end we get a bit of a diatribe on the nature of life, art, the universe and everything, which I could have done without.
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537 of 606 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, 24 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Goldfinch (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling., 1 Feb. 2015
By 
Bluecashmere. (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Paperback)
To misquote Kenneth Tynan's words about "Look Back in Anger", I don't think I could love anyone who was not excited by this novel. Enough, sometimes too much, has been said about the contents in other reviews: I shan't recapitulate them here.

There seems to me little point in drawing comparisons with "Great Expectations" or other classic novels. "The Goldfinch" is certainly not plagiaristic; nor does it need allusion to great novelists to underpin its quality. It is a quite remarkable achievement in itself. The novel operates at different levels seamlessly interwoven and culminating in the powerful final section. It is rare in a novel of this length that builds up so much suspense to find a truly convincing and satisfying ending.

At no point was I aware of the author's manipulations. Once inside, as it were, I found myself living the events, presented as they are with so much conviction and vitality. In a novel that so easily could have sprawled out of control, all is kept tightly in check via steady focus on key themes and characters. Boris, alone, is a wonderful creation, but so too are the gallery of integral secondary characters. I arrived here by way of "The Secret History", which I enjoyed enormously, though if pushed I'd rate this as an even finer achievement. As many others, I suspect, I skipped "The Little Friend", which was in general received less enthusiastically. I now feel that I must repair that omission; it is hard to believe that it cannot demonstrate some of the special qualities of the other two novels. Yes, it is no doubt true that Donna Tartt's novels have more kinship with the great Victorian novels than with much post-modernist fiction. Perhaps it is none the worst for that. Certainly my only complaint about "The Goldfinch" is that it has ended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living with The Goldfinch for a week, 12 Feb. 2014
By 
Ajoobacats "Ajooba Cats" (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Kindle Edition)
I can't call this a review but it's more about the experience I had reading this book. It isn't a short, superficial read this book is quite long and complex and involves you at many levels. I read no other books whilst reading this and although I get through most books in a few days, it took me a week to read this as I had to absorb bits of it and take breaks to think about what I read. The emotions and feelings evoked as you embark on the journey Donna Tartt takes you on through the eyes of Theo Decker is a roller-coaster.

From the young Theo from the fist page of the first chapter through adolescence and to adulthood, Tartt binds you to her main protagonist and you become so involved you want to know what happens to Theo. However, there is no rushing the journey and somehow you realise you become to care about Theo and what happens to him.

There are long passages dealing with the history of art and antiquities which may not appeal to the interest of some readers but I think the underlying story is strong enough to hold your attention. After living with this book and the characters within for a week I can honestly say no book has drawn me in so deep this year.

If you are looking for an action packed high octane read then this probably won't be for you but if you are willing to be taken on a journey that has it's own pace then this book is one you need to read. Whether you love art or don't I think this book asks some eloquent questions about art and beauty without skimping on action and thrills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort, 18 Jan. 2014
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
I was somewhat apprehensive about reading this book. Firstly, it weighs a ton and secondly, the premise sounded far more odd than compelling: a boy named Theo loses his mother and steals a (real) painting on the same day. Hmm. However almost immediately I was hooked, its length became my friend and I was picking it up at every opportunity to read even a few pages.

Why did I love it so? The writing. The story - let's be honest - is interesting but in the hands of a lesser writer could easily have been forgettable. The characters - with a couple of notable exceptions - are fairly unpleasant. They lie, they swear, they steal, they take far too many drugs and they make terrible decisions. And yes, it probably could have been shorter. There is one section in Las Vegas that seems to go a terribly long time. Still loved it though.

This is a book that feels like every line has been crafted with care and thought and then honed so perfectly that it never interrupts the pace of the reader. Descriptions like: "They were a paid of white mice I thought - only Kitsey was a spun-sugar, fairy-princess mouse whereas Andy was more the kind of luckless, anemic, pet-shop mouse you might feed to your boa constrictor." (Poor Andy was still my favourite character). It takes you right inside Theo's mind. When he grieves for his mother you feel that acute visceral pain along with him. When he's attending a party in a drunken blur, you share the numbness. When you've finished this book, you will feel like you lived his life along with him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive book both to its volume and quality, made by skillful storyteller, 8 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
"The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt is a literary work that will take some time to read it, but you'll enjoy it fully, both during and after its reading, due to author's masterful style and interesting story.

Main character named Theo Decker when he was young survived an explosion that killed his mother.
He will be left by his alcoholic father, his grandparents that are his only family will ignore him, until he would be accepted by virtual strangers and drawn into the underground world of art.
Feeling only love considering the art, reader will accompany Theo on his life journey, through all the problems that would be placed before him, somehow looking that he puts almost none effort to change his life...

"The Goldfinch" is somehow dark novel but what makes it great read is primarily the author's style and level of details which is hard to describe, managing to make even ordinary things that are happening in everyday life interesting.

Tartt knows with the words being an excellent storyteller, she draws pictures using her words, provides so much details that resulted in a work length of 800 pages which will be really challenging for some readers.
But, those patient readers will enjoy her style certainly; when for example she speaks about winter days reader can actually feel like looking at the scene with her/his own eyes...

Also, what is impressive is how good Donna Tartt managed to write this novel from the male perspective that's a quite uncommon especially given the length of her work.

Speaking about novel's characters, they are nuanced and will quickly go under your skin.
Considering main one especially, the author must get credit for his creation because Theo is well-made and believable character throughout his all turbulent maturing which is followed in the novel.
At the novel beginning he seems like a nice guy to who life wasn't fair, but as plot will gradually unfold he will slowly ceases to be so likeable, given the many opportunities that life affords him to get out of trouble.
But on the contrary it seems that he likes to be around people and getting into situations that will make his life even more complicated.

"The Goldfinch" is an impressive book both to its volume and quality, made by skillful writer that know how to deal with words which are all of them enjoyable, literature work that shows how art can expand human life and make changes in ourselves.

And due to all of that this novel can be highly recommended, although be prepared for a long but pleasant journey through its 800 pages.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Graham Greene Wrote a Script for Breaking Bad..., 23 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Kindle Edition)
I've been meaning to read The Goldfinch for some time, mostly because I am intrigued by it's central character being a painting rather than a person... Having just read the last page I am not entirely sure what to say. It is unlike any book I've read. The writing style is exhilarating, if at times a little overwhelming. Can Donna Tartt really know so much about so wide a range of subjects? She either has a glittering talent for research or a kaleidoscopic breadth of life experience. Her capacity to capture and convey just a few vital details and thus to evoke a whole area of culture is mind-boggling: a powerful parallel to the process she herself describes here, where a great artist, with a few brushstrokes can create a vibrant new reality. She names this process as a kind of huge joke, the artist telling us that what we are seeing is at one and the same time the object and not the object. There is an odd sense through 'The Goldfinch' that Tartt, too, is joking. So much of the story comes across both as real and authentic and as outrageously unlikely. we are tempted so often to disbelieve, only to be shown by sleight of hand that the unlikely was possible after all. 'The Goldfinch' is compelling and readable, with a cast of eccentric characters I feel privileged to have met. Tartt's confidence with language sets her apart as a significant writing talent, and there are moments of reflection on art and the nature of beauty that are exceptional.

The more complex aspect of the book is trying to decide what kind of book it is. In parts it reads as a thriller, in parts as a Dickensian comedy of errors, in parts as a tense romance. Its philosophical musings are worthy of Graham Greene but its central plot-line could be straight out of Breaking Bad or The Wire. It's no bad thing to mix genres and defy formulaic rules, but it will be frustrating to some readers. In the end most will fall back on the cadence of Donne Tartt's prose. If you like her style, as rich and fruity as a brandy-soaked Christmas cake, you'll be carried around the genre corners. If, on the other hand, you can live without paragraph-long descriptions that add little or nothing to the plot, you may just find yourself skipping a page or two.

GERARD KELLY, Author of The Boy Who Loved Rain
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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
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