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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
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The Goldfinch (2013)

by Donna Tartt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,576574560 (3.98)1 / 625
Recently added byIRCKhartoum, rmarcin, mccbookdrive, private library, rena75, aotoolester, Sarah_Klein, catierose, Saielsol
Legacy LibrariesCian O hAnnrachainn
  1. 164
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (stricken)
  2. 82
    The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (JuliaMaria)
  3. 10
    Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (pbirch01)
    pbirch01: Both have protagonists that use rare artworks to get what they want and execute their plan over many years
  4. 00
    Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic (niquetteb)
    niquetteb: The detailed writing styles are similar.
  5. 11
    The World to Come by Dara Horn (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Paintings are at the heart of these hefty novels, both of which combine the antics of a heist novel with ruminations on literature, history, and loss. Memorable characters and rich details add to the enjoyment of both books.
  6. 11
    Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: A book about trauma, guilt and complicated grief. The effect of secrets and drugs on lives and families.
  7. 01
    You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon (sipthereader)
    sipthereader: Loss of a young parent; leading a deceptive life
Romans (49)
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English (543)  Spanish (6)  Italian (6)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (573)
Showing 1-5 of 543 (next | show all)
Oh yes, I loved every second of this book. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
This is the story of a boy named Theo Decker. At age 13, he survives a blast at a local NY museum that kills many people - including his mother. He is knocked out from the blast, and when he comes to, he is near an older gentleman and young girl he had seen while he and his mother were walking around the museum. The painting - The Goldfinch - is lying near by the gentleman, and he keeps asking Theo to remove it from site, so Theo puts it in his backpack to calm the man. The gentleman dies from the blast, and Theo escapes the museum and heads home - painting still in tow.



His father has not been in his life in a long time (and he doesn't even know where he is), so he is taken in by a wealthy family whose son is a friend of Theo's. He spends several months with this family, and it becomes clear that the family would like Theo to stay with them. Just as Theo is rejoicing in the fact that he will have a loving family to care for him, his social worker finds his father, and his father - and his new wife - come to get him. He is pulled from the home of his friend and moved to Las Vegas with a father and step mother who are drug addicts and drunks. He friends a boy his age named Boris, and soon Theo is spiraling down the path of drugs and alcohol himself. He spends a year in Las Vegas before his father is killed in a car accident. He decides then it is time to return to New York and find the family who took him in after his mother's death.



What he finds when he returns is that the father of that family has had a mental break, so instead, he seeks out the shop where the gentleman at the museum worked. He finds his partner, Hobi, and Hobi chooses to take him in and raise him.



The book then jumps 8 years into the future. Theo has been working with Hobi in his antiques shop. He is engaged to be married. He has tried to get clean, but has been unsuccessful. People from his past come back into his life, and the painting - The Goldfinch - is still in his possession. Theo's past catches up with him and puts him in a dangerous position in the world of stolen art.



I really enjoyed this book. It is very large, so I was reading it while I was reading a few others. I had been putting it off (I even originally had it on my 2015 challenge book list, but took it off) due to its size. I found myself being drawn into this book due to the amount of time that passes in Theo's life during the course of it. He was a young, 13 year old who lost his mother, had no contact with his father and no other family. I cannot imagine a child being in this position and having to go into the foster care system because there is no family to care for them. Then his drug addict father turns up and carts him across the country away from everything he has ever known, and this atmosphere becomes the worst thing that ever happens to Theo. You wonder what his life would have been like if he could have stayed with the stable family he was put with after his mother died. And even when his father dies, and he leaves Las Vegas, and moves back to NY - he cannot get himself straightened out. He pines after a girl he cannot have, and becomes engaged to a girl he does not love. The person he became in Las Vegas becomes the person he is for the rest of his life - a drug addict who lies to people about the antiques he sells, and still has a priceless painting from the museum in his possession because he cannot part with it. Then when a friend from Las Vegas comes back into his life when he is in his 20s, he spirals even further out of control.



By the time we get to the end of the book, you are feeling pretty hopeless about Theo's future. But it does wrap up nicely, and the "moral" of the book comes out in the end. Bottom line "Things would have turned out better if she would have lived" is what Theo tells us in the end. And I can imagine that would be true.



Take a chance on this book. It really was very good. I would give it 5 Stars, but there were places in the book that I felt it dragged a bit - too wordy.

( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
DNF @ 37%

The writing is good, and the story is interesting. However, it isn't interesting enough for me to move past the inherent classism and racism. You start with your stereotypical latino doormen and move to stereotypical Eastern European characters. Anyone who struggles in school is "stupid". The n-word is used at one point uncritically and with no artistic merit. A lower-class girl is referred to as "white trash". A group of men are referred to as "looking like illegal immigrants". Poor people are consistently portrayed as stupid and unethical. If they are poor and female, they are also "slutty".

I don't have time for this.

UPDATE: I've been scrolling around reading reviews after I finished as is my wont, and I'm absolutely flabbergasted that it is being compared to Dickens. Dickens felt bad for poor people. Dickens liked poor people. This book continually portrays them as stupid and trashy. Just 'cause it has orphans that doesn't make it Dickens.

The main character of this is a middle-class kid who thinks being in a single-parent home is the same thing as being poor (which oh-so-many middle class people do). You have fucking doormen. Yeah, you had to fire the housekeeper, but you have fucking doormen. A big clue that you are not poor is that you have servants, even if they are shared servants with the rest of the building. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Dec 25, 2018 |
This is a novel of many themes, including that one event can reorient a person’s whole life, but also how the friends you meet and truly trust along the way influence you and your life. All the characters in Theo’s life seem to represent his first two influences: His mother, good (Hobie, Pippa, Mrs. Barbor, Andy), or bad (his father, Boris), but show the influence of life, that not all that is good is good and not all that is bad is bad. Boris is good for our Theo, yet a bad influence. Someone you can trust is more important that being bad. Hobie is good, but can live with bad things happening around him. Life happens.

The reason to read this novel is to get and really understand this passage:

“And as much as I’d like to believe there’s a truth beyond illusion, I’ve come to believe that there’s no truth beyond illusion. Because, between ‘reality’ on the one hand, and the point where the mind strikes reality, there’s a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.”

Perhaps the magic of life is what we create, through physical creations or our thoughts as we experience art, like this novel or other artistic pieces. The magic of life is perhaps not reality, but what we can imagine.

In the end this is a flawed novel, but I loved it. Yes, it’s repeats itself, an entire page making a point that could have been made in a few sentences, but I couldn’t put down and highly encourage others to read and ponder.
( )
  LivingReflections | Dec 2, 2018 |
This isn't an easy review to conjure, because while I liked the book and I'm very glad I read it and while many parts of it will stay with me for a long time, I was also driven crazy by it's main character, Theo Decker. I should say up front that I listened to this book, and as any audiobook "reader/listener" can tell you, this can make or break and very much affect how you feel about a book or a character.

Theo's narration portrayed him as so weak, so clueless, and in such a fog for so much of his life that I came to view him with either apathy or fury. If he said, "Sorry...?" once he must have uttered it a thousand times throughout the course of this story. "Sorry...?" as in, "I'm standing right here but I am so wrapped up in my own mind that I can't possibly comprehend what you are saying or how you know it or anything about anything...?" Even if what the person is asking/telling Theo is so obvious and so expected that we've been waiting for it all along (for 700 pages!) and so has he. That got very old.

Now I am not without sympathy for Theo's life and what caused him to become the person he was. The events of his childhood were tragic and traumatic. I understood what brought him to leave the museum with "The Goldfinch." However, I wanted Theo to be stronger, and overcome it all.

I was glad when the story came to an end, but I felt as if the wrap-up left a few loose ends, such as Theo's relationship with Kitsey, and where Boris stood as the end of the story. I would have liked to have heard more about what other paintings were discovered in Antwerp. Was his relationship with his mentor Hobie permanently damaged or was he forgiven?

All in all, this is a mountain of a novel and one worth climbing. I believe any book that evokes strong emotions is a good one, even if they aren't always positive. ( )
  LMJenkins | Nov 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 543 (next | show all)
Good things are worth waiting for. . . a tour de force that will be among the best books of 2013.
added by 4leschats | editBookPage, Megan Fishmann (Nov 1, 2013)
 
It’s my happy duty to tell you that in this case, all doubts and suspicions can be laid aside. “The Goldfinch” is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind. I read it with that mixture of terror and excitement I feel watching a pitcher carry a no-hitter into the late innings. You keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but in the case of “The Goldfinch,” they never do.
 
Book review in English 2 out of 5
added by zwelbast | editNRC (Dutch), Rob van Essen (Sep 23, 2013)
 
Book review in English 5 out of 5 stars
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tartt, Donnaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fabritius, CarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayes, KeithCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jong, Sjaak deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lecq, Paul van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, Rose-MarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nimwegen, Arjaan vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
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Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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Awards and honors
Epigraph
The absurd does not liberate; it binds.
ALBERT CAMUS
#part 5: We have art in order not to die from the truth - Nietzsche
#part 2: When we are strongest - who draws back? Most merry - Who falls down laughing? When we are very bad, - what can they do to us? - Arthur Rimbaud.
Dedication
For Mother, For Claude
First words
While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years.
Quotations
It seemed like the kind of room where a call girl or a stewardess would be murdered on television.
He's telling you that living things don't last--it's all temporary. Death in life. That's why they're called natures mortes. Maybe you don't see it at first with all the beauty and bloom, the little speck of rot. But if you look closer--there it is.
Every new event--everything I did for the rest of my life--would only separate us more and more: days she was no longer a part of, an ever-growing distance between us. Every single day for the rest of my life, she would only be further away.
But sometimes, unexpectedly, grief pounded over me in waves that left me gasping; and when the waves washed back, I found myself looking out over a brackish wreck which was illumined in a light so lucid, so heartsick and empty, that I could hardly remember that the world had ever been anything but dead.
When I looked at the painting I felt the same convergence on a single point: a flickering sun-struck instant that existed now and forever. Only occasionally did I notice the chain on the finch's ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature--fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Qui est Theo ? Que lui est il arrivé à New York pour qu'il soit quatorze ans plus tard , cloîtré dans une chambre d'hôtel à Amsterdam comme une bête traquée ? D'où vient cette toile de maître , Le Chardonneret , qu'il transporte partout avec lui ?

Ce roman laisse le lecteur essouflé , éblouï et encore une fois conquis par le talent hors du commun de Donna TARTT.
Haiku summary
Liked a goldfinch chained / Booze, drugs can't erase the pain / Of his mother's death (LynnB)
Blast kills mother.
Painting of a goldfinch
dominates life's remainder.
(Bebedee)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316055433, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:07 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"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"--… (more)

» see all 12 descriptions

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