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The Goldfinch (2013)

by Donna Tartt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,193685444 (3.94)1 / 710
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. 102
    The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (JuliaMaria)
  3. 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
  4. 00
    Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic (niquetteb)
    niquetteb: The detailed writing styles are similar.
  5. 11
    The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (shaunie)
    shaunie: The Dutch House is in some ways a slimmed down, more enjoyable Goldfinch.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 01
    You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon (sipthereader)
    sipthereader: Loss of a young parent; leading a deceptive life
Movies (147)
Romans (49)
2010s (203)
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English (654)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (6)  Italian (6)  French (6)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (685)
Showing 1-5 of 654 (next | show all)
Maybe I would have enjoyed this book if I had picked it up on my own before all the hype and the Pulitzer. Judging by the descriptions, it was well-researched, but the details rambled on and on.

Two parts did get me thinking:

"To understand the world at all, sometimes you could only focus on a tiny bit of it, look very hard at what was close to hand and make it stand for the whole." (Twain would have had something to say about the word "very," though.)

"Maybe that's what's waiting for us at the end of the journey, a majesty unimaginable until the very moment we find ourselves walking through the doors of it, what we find ourselves gazing at in astonishment when God finally takes His hands off our eyes and says: Look!" (I like that! But, yes, Twain would have plucked out that "very.")

Those passages stood out, but the paperback was 962 pages long. I think if this book were cut in half, it would have spoken more directly to the reader, at least this reader. ( )
  DonnaMarieMerritt | Jun 13, 2021 |
This book has strong reoccurring themes of obsessive love, self-destructive behavior, attempts at redemption, but I didn't feel like the protagonist had real depth. In many ways he was stereotypical, and his actions often contrasted in strange ways with his motivations and previous actions. Even though this is a coming-of-age story, it was hard to understand the arc of the character's growth. His progress and regress seemed more random than character-driven.

I was often interested in the artfully-crafted sentences while the events they described bored me. By the end of the book I was rather sick of it, but I remember enjoying the start a great deal.

I think what disappointed me the most about this book was that I was expecting an intricate mystery and instead found a coincidence-driven literary examination of an angsty teenage boy. ( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
I still haven't read the blurb - I need to do that - so I went into this audio book blindly. I'm happy I did because I was so pleasantly surprised that I never knew what was going to happen.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed this book a great deal. The characters were so real and complex, even a good number of the secondary characters, that I felt invested in the various story arcs. The only reason I'm not going five stars is because I felt some of the passages about art and furniture went on too long and I found my attention wandering away from the book while the narrator went on for what must have been pages of background information. Much of it was interesting and certainly showed how vast Theo's knowledge was but it couldn't hold my attention.

I finished the book yesterday evening and I'm actually missing Theo and Boris and Hobie. ( )
  amcheri | May 25, 2021 |
I wouldn't recommend this book. It is slow, the protagonist is...deeply annoying to read about, the ending is tritely wrapped up, and all the threads that Tartt spends several hundred pages making don't really go anywhere other than being metaphysically tied together in the last thirty pages, in what reads to me as a last-ditch attempt to bullshit an ending through 'art as an experience' and 'connects people through time', which is told to us directly by the narrator, in a horribly twee epilouge. Do I think that Tartt realised that her highly-anticipated book was really bad, but she'd already blown her advance on women's suits for the author photo, and tried to make it seem literary to paint over all the bad prose and lack of coherent plotline? ...maybe. It's what makes sense to me, because I loved "The Secret History" and think Tartt is in general a good writer. But man, this was painful to read. ( )
  msemmag | May 24, 2021 |
Goldfinch follows a boys life to adulthood and his painting that although hidden from sight, plays a crucial role in every aspect of his life since a horrible accident occured. The morals of the child are challenged and are sometimes lost because of his companions or because of his situation, but are also learned through characters that mean so much to him. Overall this was a good read, but found the "action" parts of the book were too forced, and did not fit the style the rest of the book had established. Overall a good read. ( )
  sjh4255 | May 4, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 654 (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
Donna Tarttprimary authorall editionscalculated
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

Belongs to Publisher Series

La Scala Rizzoli (Stranieri)
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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.)
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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.
(Bebedee)

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