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The Goldfinch

Tartt, Donna. Book - 2013 Fiction, Adult Book / Fiction / General / Tartt, Donna, Fiction / Tartt, Donna None on shelf 51 requests on 22 copies Community Rating: 4 out of 5

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"The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art"-- Provided by publisher.


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boring submitted by unknown on May 18, 2014, 12:13pm boring tedious wordy

Just OK. submitted by lifeisamuse on June 20, 2014, 12:17pm After all the hype this book received I guess I expected something more. It was an okay read, but nothing out of this world. The ending was also a bit too rushed and tidy.

Beautifully written but long and tedious submitted by ccxjw on June 22, 2014, 12:34pm The book is beautifully written -- the author is truly an amazing writer. There are many places in this book where the writing is breathtakingly stunning. In terms of plot and feel, the book is very reminiscent of a cross between Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (two incredible books). The story is very compelling and some of the "lessons" from the book really resonated with me. However, it is true that the book is REALLY long and often tedious, which means that it is also occasionally boring. I think that at least 100 pages could have been cut without having done any harm to the story at all. I read the book in 2-3 days because I was on vacation, but it is really a book that probably would usually take much longer. Overall, I do recommend the book for its beautiful and interesting story, but it is definitely flawed because of its tediousness.

good writing submitted by aparna70 on June 26, 2014, 5:18pm enjoyed reading it.

Disappointing! submitted by Susan C on July 19, 2014, 7:06am Long book with no point. I expected something wonderful. It took 700 pages to get to something to happen. Then, it had very quick conclusion. I had a hard time finishing it because it was so dull. Disappointing!

worth the effort submitted by suttonp on June 16, 2015, 3:06pm Yes, the book was long. At times I wondered if it was worth it, but the length was appreciated when I realized how invested I had become in the protagonists life. This book had me writing down passages to think about later. I am better for having read it.

could not finish this book. :( submitted by bookher on June 17, 2015, 1:52pm The writing is very real and I felt like I was there and it was happening to me which is great for a book experience but it just got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore. Every chapter had something bad happening to the boy and it was so sad and painful to read. Just when I had hope things were turning around for him, nope, he's slammed with something else awful. I just could not endure this book.

Needed better editing in the middle submitted by sueij on July 2, 2015, 10:41am The first 500 pages were really good. So were the last 80 or so. But the 200 in between just killed me. I counted every one as they dragged by, hoping they would pass faster than they did. (I didn't want to give up on it because I was reading it for book club.)

So, one thing about this book is that it moves at a different pace than most books do. Think of the way that old movies are paced differently than current movies are. My kids can't stand old ones because there isn't enough action for them... not enough happens, even when it's not an action movie we're watching. There's just a difference in pacing. This book is like that. Maybe the imagery is vivid or the wording is lush... I don't actually remember being struck by that, but the pacing just struck me as slower and more deliberate. And once I slowed to the pace of the book, that worked fine for me.

The main character's hard life and choices as a child and teen were interesting to me. I didn't always like them, but I thought they made for an interesting story. I think what was so hard about the 200 pages that dragged was that he wasn't a child any more, and yet he still seemed mostly to be *acted upon,* rather than an actor. Life was what happened to him, rather than him being a terribly active participant. And even when he occasionally made a choice, he then became the victim and recipient of the consequences of that choice, rather than a real player in his own life. And I expect adults to be actors.

The final 80 pages finally had choices, actions, and fascinating life reflections. It pulled the book together well. But really, the whole thing just needed more editing. 780 pages was just too long.

So boring submitted by shoshanapursley on July 15, 2015, 7:48pm Too boring for me

Boring and tedious sums it up submitted by patricia alvis on July 17, 2015, 10:41am Read at urging of friends wondering why it was getting so much attention.
Question: Do publishers find it more profitable to publish such long books and pass cost of paper to gullible consumers than to hire a qualified editor to take out the trash?
I read it in audio book format, one dreary disk per day.
In summary, take a completely unlikable main character and spend 771 pages arguing that the reader should care what happens to him. Throw in references to Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, figuring, probably correctly, that few of your readers will have read it, but will be impressed that you have.
Note to the all-American Ms. Tartt: there are nice people in Russia.
Note 2 to Ms. Tartt: The whole preciousness of the art object in contemporary life has to do with greed and competition, and very little to do with intrinsic artistic value. The spiel at the end is hardly convincing in light of all that goes on before.
But in the end, you fooled a lot of people. For me, it's a gain in one way. Next time someone recommends a Donna Tartt book, I will happily reread The Idiot, Now that's a really good book.

What an adventure! submitted by Lucy S on August 30, 2015, 1:11pm I really liked this. Highly entertaining.

I loved it submitted by KOH on August 5, 2017, 9:10pm What a unique, compelling story! Power through the slower parts- its totally worth it!

Plot twists submitted by lballard on June 16, 2018, 6:00am Although it’s a little unbelievable, the author did come up with some unexpected plot twists.

Meh submitted by lauramason89 on August 15, 2018, 4:40pm I remember being really excited about this book, and when I finally read it I was underwhelmed. It was slow and I didn't really like the characters, except the furniture restorer. The beginning and the parts where the main character is living in New York were somewhat interesting, but the rest did not hold my attention. By the time I finished, I was disappointed that I spent so much time reading it (it's quite long).

Tedious submitted by lstorc on August 28, 2018, 1:19am This was a poorly paced, drawn-out book. The pacing made it difficult to enjoy the plot and characters, what did not stop one from doing so entirely.

Great Read submitted by srussel on July 7, 2019, 3:22pm Good book; first half was amazing, second half was not as great

Book submitted by Clown81 on August 31, 2019, 4:53pm Tedious.

Cover image for The goldfinch

New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2013.
Year Published: 2013
Description: 771 p.
Language: English
Format: Book


Young men -- Fiction.
Loss (Psychology) -- Fiction.
Artists -- Fiction.
Self-realization -- Fiction.
New York (N.Y.) -- Fiction.
Suspense fiction.