The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch 4

by Donna Tartt

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 03/06/2014

5/5 Rating 4 Reviews
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph - a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.

ISBN:
9780349139630
9780349139630
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
03-06-2014
Publisher:
Little, Brown Book Group
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Pages:
880
Dimensions (mm):
195x130x41mm
Weight:
0kg
Donna Tartt

Born in Greenwood Mississippi, 1963, Donna Tartt was educated at the University of Mississippi and Bennington College and is the authour of three novels. They are The Secret History (1992), The Little Friend (2002), and The Goldfinch (2013). She won the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend in 2003 and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Goldfinch in 2014.

She lives in Mississippi and New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (4 Ratings)
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  • A good literary read that would have benefited fro

    by on

    Award-winning American author, Donna Tartt begins her third novel with her twenty-seven-year-old protagonist, Theo Decker, in December, hiding out in an Amsterdam hotel room, reflecting on his life, while scanning newspapers for any available information about a recent murder. Over the next seven hundred plus pages, these in-depth reflections form a meticulously detailed account of the Theo’s life, beginning with the circumstances, when he was just thirteen, of his mother’s death, an event of which he says: “Things would have turned out better if she had lived.” It was then that he acquired the eponymous Goldfinch, the single remaining painting by 17th century Dutch Master, Carel Fabritius.

    The ride that Tartt takes the reader on starts with Theo a virtual orphan in pseudo-foster care, then in the care of his negligent father, consuming copious quantities of drugs and alcohol. When fifteen-year-old Theo looks in the mirror, he notes his resemblance to his (safe-to-say) despised father, Larry, and when Larry’s girlfriend Xandra flings at him “You and your dad are a whole lot more alike than you might think. You’re his kid, through and through”, his denial is vehement. It becomes apparent from his later behaviour (drugs, alcohol, betrayal of good friends, criminal dishonesty) that she was indeed perceptive.

    Readers familiar with Australian author Steve Toltz’s epic debut novel, A Fraction of the Whole (2008) may notice similarities, both in the length (somewhat daunting), the careless parenting, the roller-coaster life, and the black humour (in lesser quantity), although Tartt’s work is much less far-fetched. She certainly achieves a vivid portrayal of a thirteen-year-old boy’s grief at the loss of his mother.

    Tartt has a talent for character description: “I found myself blinking up in the late afternoon glare at a very tall, very very tanned, very thin man, of indeterminate age. He looked partly like a rodeo guy and partly like a f--ked-up lounge entertainer. His gold-rimmed aviators were tinted purple at the top; he was wearing a white sports jacket over a red cowboy shirt with pearl snaps and black jeans, but the main thing I noticed was his hair: part toupee, part transplanted or sprayed-on, with a texture like fibreglass insulation and a dark brown color like shoe polish in the tin.” A good literary read that would have benefited from some judicious editing.

  • Big and wonderful!

    by on

    This is winning all contests for my favourite book of the year and thus weve picked it as our Book of the Month for November. Its big (771 pages), but is powerful and an absolute joy to read. Its guaranteed at the end of the book you wont be the person you were when you sat down to read the first page. Goldfinch is the story of Theo Decker. It begins in New York with the 13 year old Decker and his mother on a visit to the museum. Something huge and horrible happens that leaves Theo with a rather changed life to work through. The novel follows his life through friendships and losses and I genuinely couldnt wait to open the book each night and immerse myself into Theos world. Underpinning all of Theos life is a painting called The Goldfinch and a deep friendship with a lively Russian called Boris. Once again Donna has created characters as real and believable as all the best literary characters. Youll want to take your time with this novel and appreciate the craft of writing and how truly brilliant it is.

  • Just another decade till the next one

    by on

    After The Little Friend didn't quite measure up to The Secret History I approached The Goldfinch cautiously. I needn't have worried - this is now a favourite of mine. Sometimes reading of Theo's misadventures is a little like watching a car crash, but no matter how flawed he becomes you can't help but want him to succeeded.

    Completely deserved the Pulitzer.

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