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The Goldfinch (2013)

by Donna Tartt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,156767378 (3.94)1 / 776
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.… (more)
  1. 203
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (stricken)
  2. 92
    The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (JuliaMaria)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 00
    Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic (niquetteb)
    niquetteb: The detailed writing styles are similar.
  6. 00
    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
  7. 11
    The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (shaunie)
    shaunie: The Dutch House is in some ways a slimmed down, more enjoyable Goldfinch.
  8. 01
    You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon (sipthereader)
    sipthereader: Loss of a young parent; leading a deceptive life
AP Lit (56)
Romans (49)
2010s (203)

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 Girlybooks: The Goldfinch SPOILERS ALLOWED80 unread / 80nohrt4me2, August 2014

» See also 776 mentions

English (727)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (8)  French (7)  Italian (6)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (764)
Showing 1-5 of 727 (next | show all)
Can't really decide on this one. Amazing and captivating at first, dragged on and on for hundreds of pages, wrapped up in suspense with an oddly disappointing conclusion. ( )
  lemontwist | Sep 4, 2023 |

I didn't quite enjoy reading this book, but I was intrigued by the lifestyle of the protagonist and his relationships.

I think these notes are from a Kindelereview: The crazed life of a young terrorist victim, a young boy, who grows into a deeply troubled man with an outrageous (to me) life. Final chapters expound a philosophy of life. Very creatively written, with strong exposition of internal life.
( )
  jjbinkc | Aug 27, 2023 |
Well written and interesting, although the story does move slowly at points. This is a book that can generate discussion on many levels. I enjoyed reading it. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Aug 13, 2023 |
...and I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality.

The goldfinch gets free from its chains and has robbed my notes, so this is my short review and quotes:

Everyone would like a friend as Hobie…


What was the line from Yeats, about the bemused Chinese sages? All things fall apart and are built again. Ancient glittering eyes. This was wisdom. People had been raging and weeping and destroying things for centuries and wailing about their puny individual lives, when - what was the point? All this useless sorrow? Considers the lilies of the field. Why did anyone ever worry about anything? Weren’t we, as sentient beings, put upon the earth to be happy, in the brief time allotted to us?

Even through a copy Proust was able to re-dream that image, re-shape reality with it, put something all his own from it into the world. Because - the line of beauty is the line of beauty.

...a really great painting is fluid enough to work its way into the mind and heart through all kinds of different angles, in ways that are unique and very particular.

And just as music is the space between notes, just as the stars are beautiful because of the space between them, just as the sun strikes raindrops at a certain angle and throw a prism of color across the sky - so the space where I exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank hope I die in, is exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime.

The true is that I’ve lost my notes from my tablet (blessed times when books were just on paper).

But one man loved
The pilgrim soul in you
And loved the sorrows
Of you changing face
(W.B. Yeats)
( )
  NewLibrary78 | Jul 22, 2023 |
Donna Tartt's novel the Goldfinch is a fascinating yet very disturbing read of a young boys' descent down a very slippery road. The descent begins when his mother is killed by an act of terrorism. Theo is securely traumatized by the events and starts to make several bad decisions. Being that he only 13 I could still get behind him and cheer him on; hoping that with age, he'll realize the error of his ways. But as he gets older, it's harder to accept the bad decisions he makes and it seems like it is only a matter of time before he hits rock bottom. The ending comes as a surprise, but it's not a happy ending, as is only fitting with the overall tone of the novel. ( )
  kevinkevbo | Jul 14, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 727 (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 (14 possible)

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
Pittu, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The absurd does not liberate; it binds.
For Mother, For Claude
First words
While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years.
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.)
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.

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