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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
As an adult, Theo Decker narrates the story from the perspective of his 13 year old self. While visiting New York’s Metropolitan Art Museum with his mother, a bomb explodes, leaving him to find his own way out through horrible conditions. For some time, he hangs on to a feeble hope that his mother survived the blast. Before he left the museum, he took one of his mother’s favorite paintings, Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch.
Big Fat Book Worth Reading
The Goldfinch had excellent scenes and lines; it displays perfectly what I imagine would be in a 13 year-old boy’s mind having lost his mother so suddenly to a terrorist bombing. The premise gave great promise and great potential. However, at times, I felt I wanted to abandon it as it was overly long and was filled with ‘stuff’ that was not interesting and did nothing to pull the story along.
This painting that Theo pulled away from the art museum is all but forgotten for much of the book; maybe mentioned again every 100 pages or so.
Ms. Tartt does a good job with character development but the plot became thinner. For me, the high points of The Goldfinch were Theo’s life during and immediately after the terrorist explosion; when he was received into the wealthy family of his school friend; and his relationship with Pippa and Hobie. I rated The Goldfinch 3 out of 5.
Although I agree with many other readers that the ending is less than satisfying, I highly recommend this book for its adventure and characters. I'm not sure how much I "cared" about the main character, Theo, but I was more than curious to find out his next move and that drove me to finish this big fat book quickly. I have no doubt that the judges for the Pulitzer made the right decision when awarding this book the Pulitzer Prize. It definitely is the best book that I read in 2013.
Dickens meets the 21st Century
Kudos for Donna Tartt and her complex characters and riveting plot. Yes, art in whatever form brings us as close to ourselves as we will ever get. It is where through understanding others we discover ourselves. This is a novel of ideas, a splendid, spellbinding, stunningly written saga for the 21st century. The Goldfinch is a metaphor for the world in the aftermath of 9/11 and the state of fear we have lived in since. Is it too long? Certainly not. Are 10 words as transforming as brilliantly written 200? Absolutely not. Tartt is not for lazy readers, but if Tom Wolfe captured you, if Dickens transported you, if Tolstoy riveted you to each page, then read The Goldfinch, for there is nothing quite like it -- except for Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things -- out there at the moment. Great writing can be as long as it needs to be.
Pretentious, empty characters, endlessly plods on with irrelevant detail. Badly written - why use 10 words when 200 will do. Theme - read the last 2 pages and skip the rest - life is awful, art's the rainbow in the sky.
I wish your reviews went higher than 5 ….. I would give this book a 10. Although 800 pages in length, I was bereft when I had to finish the last few pages knowing my time with this story was over.
This book had everything I love, superb writing (I read sentences over and over again at times just to marvel at her ability to make words magical), great story that shifted in time and place with each shift making the story better ….. I even loved the feel of the paper the text was printed on. That said, I will caution that the Dickensian bent of this book will not put it on everyone's Hit Parade. But, for me, it was THE BOOK of 2013. I see a Pulitzer, Donna Tartt!