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on 4 November 2014
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Donna Tartt has a beautiful story-telling manner and I was completely drawn in. I can't wait to read more by her. I also loved the plot. It was magical and beautiful, a little bit fantastical, but also painfully true to life. I would recommend this to anyone, especially daydreamers.
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on 19 August 2014
I was exhausted and exasperated by the end of this book - I had so enjoyed the first half and Tartt's masterful depiction of the havoc wrought on young lives by a random act of violence.but found the second half immensely repetitive in its coverage of the themes. Too much detail of drug culture, too much introspection - just too much!
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on 25 February 2014
I thought the plot was original and inventive and I enjoyed the sections with dialogue and action. When the author was describing places and emotions she often used long lists of items, especially in the furniture/arts workshop. This is a valid technique but in The Goldfinch the lists sometimes went on for pages and I lost interest.
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on 3 April 2014
A simply incredible book.
Yes it is a slow burner, yes Tartt's prose is incredibly detailled to the point where you often find yourself wondering why.
But this book will open your eyes and your heart to life in a different way.
Savour it.
Drink in the detail.
And then enjoy the tiny details of your own life.
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on 8 October 2014
While I'm not one for long books, this 867 page book kept me gripped from beginning to end. It tells the story of Theo Decker who gets caught up in an explosion in a museum and survives with a small but valuable painting in his possession. Won't say any more about the book. Only criticism is that it could have been a little shorter.
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on 16 September 2014
A great start that gets dull. I hardly ever give up on a book, but I reached the point of not caring about any of the characters. The start is engaging and raw, but the Las Vegas chapters are hugely dull. Once the main character got back to New York I thought there wold be hope of improved writing, but no.
One of the few books that I have ever just throw in the bin.
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on 5 November 2014
I found it difficult to do anything other than inhabit the couch with this book. It's as much of a masterpiece as The Goldfinch itself. Reminded me a bit of the Robertson Davies trilogy Fifth Business with its depth and richness of characterisation and good old storytelling. Will be recommending it to all my book loving friends.
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on 25 June 2015
The Goldfinch is either loved or disliked by readers. I belong to the latter group. In the positivie reviews its narrative qualities have been emphasized without regard to the plausibility or style. But the story is so hollow and impossible from the beginning: an improbable marriage with an art-crazy mother and a totally uncultured, alcoholic husband who leaves her for a Las Vegas waitress and never understands the value or tastes of his wife. When the mother dies in an explosion in the art museum where the mother and son have been admiring paintings by Rembrandt and an obscure Dutch master whose small painting Goldfinch is the favourite of the mother's, the boy who is thirteen is left alive and steals the painting which is unharmed. The book is then actually about the fate of this painting which the boy transports with himself during his travels from New York to Las Vegas and back. The thirteen year old protagonist is impossibly adult from the beginning and begins consuming inordinate amounts of alcohol and drugs already when he is 14 but still able to keep a hich academic standard. The young man is always worried and mostly unhappy but finds some good and bad friends. The bad friend is Boris who drinks even much more than he and has a criminal career staked out for him. The good friend is Hobie who recreates old furniture which the protagonist then prodeeds to sell as fake old furniture. There is an unfulfilled love story and an unconsummated marriage and a crazy escapade in Amsterdam where the two friends, Boris and Theo will try to recover the painting which has been stolen by Boris. They don't succeed but Theo is left with a large amount of money which he then uses to rebuy the fake furniture which he has sold to new-rich hedge fund investors. All this told in an impossibly long and winding manner with zillions of unnecessary details and asides. Tartt is serious so this is not the McInerney/Bret Easton Ellis satirical genre. The ending where Tartt tries to convince us that art is the fundament of life, does not really convince. I can understand that the novel is admired by younger readers of the Catcher in the Rye genre, but this is really not quite of the same level. Best read in Kindle so your hands don't get tired.
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on 19 December 2013
'The Goldfinch' is a huge book of nearly 800 pages. It is the engrossing and engaging story of Theo a damaged young man whose life alters after a random act of terrorism that leads to the death of his devoted and loving mother. During a visit to an art museum 13 year old Theo encounters a dying elderly man and in a split second an impulsive act shapes his future. After staying with a school friend and his dis-functional but wealthy family, Theo meets the mysterious Hobie the business partner of the decreased man from the art museum. Theo's life is thrown into further dis-away when he moves to Las Vegas to live with his alcohol dependent father and his chaotic partner Xandra. With no steady parenting the lonely and vulnerable Theo befriends the all too worldly Boris. Boris leads Theo on a self destructive journey towards drug abuse and self harm. Quite simply 'the goldfinch' is a breathtaking masterpiece. Theo who i feel can be viewed as an anti-hero is almost like a modern day version of Oliver Twist. The writing is pure and at times the pace is fast and exciting, the portion set in Amsterdam almost has a Quentin Tarantino quality . There is also a bittersweet love story at the core of the story that is at times heart rendering . The character of Theo is totally believable. almost a morality tale the Goldfinch really manages to explore how a flawed individual's destiny can be shaped by a string of events and encounters . My only criticism is the book is too long in places with some over written passages that seem to go no-where. We also do not see enough of Pippa who is also left traumatised by events in her childhood and lasting injuries from the bomb attack. Pippa's story is never fully explored apart from a tender evening spend with Theo close to the conclusion of the book. Was the book Worth waiting 10 years for?, i think so as it is probably one of the best novels of 2013.
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on 8 July 2014
I read this as part of a bookclub and was not my choice. I worried about 864 pages and how I would get through it.
Starts off good with an event that clearly impacts on Theo's life and will forever do- losing his beloved mother in a terrorist attack.
I lost interest for a while and got stuck around the "Vegas" chapter when Theo is taken to live with his father and pill popping girlfriend. I also felt the descriptions of Theo and Boris endless drug taking, drinking, glue sniffing went on for too long.

I think as an animal lover, i regained interest when Theo escaped vegas with Popchick(the maltese neglected dog of dads girlfriend)
and I was touched by his feelings for the dog throughout such a rubbish existence.I almost cried when he eventually turned up at Hobies and expected as always to get rejection and was brought in to safety and how surprised he was that someone may do that for him.
I read over 600 pages in 2 days after this point and it was at times a real page turner.

As someone with a faith in God, I didnt mind the Philosophising and God details at the end but wondered where they had come from m for both Boris and Theo as no such things appeared to have been discussed before.
I also wondered how Theo and Boris functioned with such endless drug use however, I do not have personal experience of just how much you can take and function with at any given time.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and at the risk of being controversial can say the Goldfinch painting never really carried that much weight with me throughout the book other than its obvious connections to a life long lost
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