17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Graham Greene Wrote a Script for Breaking Bad...
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...
Published 2 months ago by Gerard Kelly
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I bought this on recommendation from a fellow book lover who raved about it. I can't say I agree, initially I got into the story straight away and found myself intrigued by how the story was unfolding. I can't deny its a good storyline but I simply got bored with the Authors endless long descriptions and felt that some chapters were dragged out. I'm annoyed with myself...
Published 4 months ago by firefly
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Graham Greene Wrote a Script for Breaking Bad...,
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
9 of 9 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 my mum and have recommended it to many others. Thanks Ms Tartt for a book I will remember for the rest of my life.
80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why the controversy?,
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
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me,
I bought this on recommendation from a fellow book lover who raved about it. I can't say I agree, initially I got into the story straight away and found myself intrigued by how the story was unfolding. I can't deny its a good storyline but I simply got bored with the Authors endless long descriptions and felt that some chapters were dragged out. I'm annoyed with myself for not finishing it but I found it boring and I was continuously skipping pages to avoid the drivel. I realise from the reviews I'm very much in the minority apologies to all Donna Tart fans.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive book both to its volume and quality, made by skillful storyteller,
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.
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where is a good editor when you really need him/her?,
The hype and critical plaudits persuaded me to buy this book, yet here I am, 320 pages into this saga, and I am still reading about Theo and Boris 's endless vodka and vomit scenarios in a bleak and windswept corner of Las Vegas.
I am not only wondering where this unpleasant episode will take me, but also wondering how, after 300 + pages! we finally arrived here; believe me, the journey was far from interesting, the characters were easily forgettable, the plot meandering beyond belief, and I really, really cannot face a further 400 pages of meaningless and uninspiring drivel. My main concern is that I was " duped" into reading he reviews, "conned" into Radio 4's coverage of Ms Tartt's new novel, and sadly, I totally believed the critical acclaim quoted within the book. How can this be so gripping, so heart- stopping, so heart-rendering, so thrilling and touching, so masterful!!
I am a book addict. I am of mature years. I have read hundreds upon hundreds of books. I love reading. So how can this be such an awful novel, yet so highly acclaimed.
There have been many comparisons made between The Goldfinch and Great Expectations. Ignore the references. Please, please take my advice. The autumnal nights will soon be upon us. Buy a copy of " Great Expectations" and sit by an open fire with a comforting drink, and relish the devour the wonderful characters created for you by Mr Dickens. You will remember them all with great affection for years and years to come.
The characters offered to you by Ms Tartt will be forgotten before you turn a page and close the book and place it in a dark space at the very black of a library shelf.........never to be viewed again.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow and gosh!,
I read this book while on holiday in Italy. From the moment I started it, I was captivated. Donna Tartt is not someone whose writing I was expecting to enjoy but, despite the tragedy, darkness and horror of the story line, I loved it. The book is skilful in its examination of people, it contains enough whodunit intrigue for crime fans to enjoy, the lavish description of antiques is enough to make me give up my love of modern furniture design, the main characters are interesting and develop into wholly credible characters as the book progresses (I can even see them, understand how they look and behave and want to meet them all) and even the depravity of some of the addiction described in the book is such that it put me off my glass of wine with lunch on one beautiful sunny day during my holiday!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read,
I might not have picked up such a large book of my own volition but it was our reading group book. An excellent read. Beautifully written, the many characters are so well defined it is like watching a film . I found the first part of the book extremely hard to read, it was so painfully I almost put the book down, I am glad I continued to the end. I would most certainly recommend it.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's a Tartt alright, but such treacle...,
Life is too short to spend it reading huge, self-indulgent, un-edited books of the NY literati, award winning or otherwise...The book made no sense to me, had no obvious message and what it tried to evoke, failed.
It divided my book club, but apart from 2 people, the rest veered towards finding fault with it one way or another. I tried my hardest to finish it, but struggled to engage...it felt pointless.
I couldn't help but guess at what the situation may have been: big name secures book deal but needs to deliver the goods after 12 years of staring at a painting, writing the "great American novel". Needs to placate the publisher, so cue 770-odd pages of unadulterated toss. Editors too much in awe of the name of the author to do their job right and throw it back at her with a thud. Publisher sighs and thinks, well it is a doorstop, we can do good publicity with her name and get every dufus on the planet to go buy it (including myself), so there's money to be made here. Audiences read, get baffled, but then get seduced by the furore of the critics and decide they have read a really good book.
No, you haven't.
If you are still thinking about getting this book as a pre-Xmas read, don't bother. Use your time to get re-acquainted with a russian classic, dunno, like War and Peace? It will while away the time quicker...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars too flawed.,
Despite some of the brilliance of the writing at times - there are too many flaws - and one major flaw in particular, made this unconvincing in the end. I managed to get through it all, just about, but as with others here, I jumped a few bits at the end and the explosion scene also went on and on and on.
The main problem I had was with the character of Theo. He starts off in the story as a 13 year old boy - but his intellectual insights on what is going around him are of those of a 40 year old Harvard educated adult. Comments on furniture, art, fashion, everything - it just doesn't ring true at all. Even the most precocious 13 year old doesn't know all that stuff. The same about all his friends. This for me was a major flaw, and it continues all the way through until he is an adult. It is a shame because emotionally, his struggle with his lost family and new families are often very touchingly portrayed. But perhaps Ms Tartt just can't stop showing her cleverness; such a shame. The book is also incredibly depressing for the most part; it is relentless. I don't know if this was Tartt's intention.
Also, the ending was a let-down. Sure, Tartt didn't go for the "happy ending". But there didn't seem to be much of any kind of one, except a jumble of different philosophies tagged together. I also have a question about the ending, but don't want to do a SPOILER in the process. This question is at the end of my review.
I agree with others, it badly needed an editor. Some of the writing is beautiful. The characters and places often come alive - just like Secret History. Very occasionally some terrific humour strikes out from the page. I just agree with others here that it was over-wordy too often and became too self-indulgent as a result. Sadly not a masterpiece, the critics who stated this underestimate the reading public. It would make a good film though ...
Please do not read this if you do NOT want to know the ENDING.
Did I read wrong or is Theo, whilst doing his best to carry on, a functioning addict at the end?
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