The Goldfich by Donna Tartt - Review & Discussion

Discuss the January 2014 book of the month "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tart.
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Re: The Goldfich by Donna Tartt - Review & Discussion

Post by Tayner01 »

marty1314 wrote:
Fran wrote:IMO the book suffers from a lack of editing and could have been about 200 pages shorter. ..the rest of the book was in many ways tedious reading and I honestly could not wait to get it finished.
I liked the story, I liked the characters but, for me, the book as a whole package suffers seriously from a lack of editing and for that reason I would give it a 3/5* rating.
My exact feelings also. Too long, too much time spent on side plots. Were were the editors?
I hate to say it because I really wanted to love 'The Goldfinch' but I agree. - And in the end I didn't even care about the painting.
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Post by aaa1234 »

I would give this book a 3 out of 4. The fact that the book is set in New York gives an urban dimension to the book incorporating various aspects of the incredible city. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in art and antiquities.

-- 19 Jan 2015, 13:35 --

The Goldfinch is a book by Donna Tartt with a fantastic opening and relations to Holland. An okay read.
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Post by aaa123 »

A brilliant lay out.
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Post by Duende Knocking »

Missed this one by a year. :o

This was one of my favorite reads of 2014, possibly my favorite overall. I loved Tartt's Secret History, was bored to tears by her Little Friend, and was a little worried about reading a new book by her, but I was not disappointed. I wasn't surprised that it opened with the murderer watching news about his victim unfold though.

I loved all of the characters in it (pft especially Boris...but I have a feeling he was a fan favorite) and the plot itself was very good. I'd give it a re-read sometime in the next few years, for sure.

I personally didn't find it to be too long, but I also read it while sick in bed over a period of a few days, so it's not like I had much else to definitely seemed the perfect length for me.
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Post by ejcogan »

I haven't yet read this book and now I'm on the fence about it. I don't really like stories that drag on with a million details, but I've started books like that before and they didn't get good until after 10 chapters. Since it's a matter of taste as well, I'll probably read it just so I can judge for myself.
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Post by Stevefromtheblock »

Thanks for the review! Sounds interesting.
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Post by Melinda1973 »

Sadmag wrote:I thoroughly enjoyed The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Decker experienced so many painful experiences in his life. I thought it was interesting how he could be around different types of people and fit in with all of them. I kept hoping he would quit using drugs to numb himself from feeling all those emotions, but I still liked his character from the beginning of the book to the end. I was also happy that Boris turned out to be a good friend even though at first he wasn't. I also enjoyed learning more about the appreciation of art.
I completely agree with this review. I read or listen to 4-6 books a week. When I find a lengthy one I am trilled as most books end to quickly for me. I as well am not an art enthusiast but still found the story captivating. I am always up for a non predictable book.
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Post by steinhm »

This book made me really sad. I lived in The Hague for a while, where The Goldfinch the painting is, and I went to see it and it was a beautiful painting, and upon a recommendation from my mom I decided to read the book. I was so incredibly disappointed.

I thought it was really slow going, some of it really confused me, and frankly I thought the end was kind of ridiculous and unsatisfying. I definitely was letdown because of all the amazing reviews it got I thought it was going to be amazing, but really I just struggled to get through it.

I think Donna Tartt did an amazing job researching this book and crafting it together, but it just wasn't to my liking. It was too slow and not enough really happened. And when it did happen it just seemed so ridiculous.

I loved Hobbie but other than that I didn't find a whole lot redeeming about it.

-- 02 Apr 2015, 04:08 --
S dot Lennon wrote:This book made me want to buy an Art History book to become more educated on the subject. The way the characters mother talked about the style of the paintings and the artist made me want to dive into art. I really enjoyed this book. An interesting coming of age story.
I agree with what you said about wanting to buy an Art History book and learn more, I definitely felt that as well. However, even though I thought that aspect of it was really good, overall I just didn't really get that into the book. I did finish it and I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it. I think Tartt does a good job making you want to become educated on art history, but less job drawing you into the story.

Although, my friend who majored in Art History and loves art and all things like that wasn't a huge fan of the book either. I don't think I'd read it again, but maybe I'll buy an art history book instead!

-- 02 Apr 2015, 07:36 --
Fran wrote:First off let me say I loved The Secret History & The Little Friend but I have to say I was disappointed with The Goldfinch. Not that the story isn't a good one well executed but IMO the book suffers from a lack of editing and could have been about 200 pages shorter. I loved the analysis of great paintings and I really liked the detailing of the coincidences and accidents that dicated their survival for us today.
The book opens in a hotel room in Amsterdam and then moves backwards in time to New York and a major traumatic event that dictates the subsequent life of a young boy, Theo, and everyone associated with him. Following this event there is a description of the disordered condition Theo finds himself in which IMO is one of the most powerful pieces of descriptive writing I have ever read but the rest of the book was in many ways tedious reading and I honestly could not wait to get it finished.
I liked the story, I liked the characters but, for me, the book as a whole package suffers seriously from a lack of editing and for that reason I would give it a 3/5* rating.
I could not agree more that the book could have been 200 pages shorter. The story was good and very thorough but almost too much. It just felt like some parts dragged on and on and could have been condensed significantly. I couldn't agree more with everything you said and right after the even in New York was by far the most interesting part of the book, but overall it felt really tedious.

It took me a good month to get through this and I'm normally a really fast reader.

-- 02 Apr 2015, 16:25 --
A24 wrote:I started listening to this one on audiobook but the detail was killing me! I stopped after a while and knew I couldn't continue with this one for 32 hours. Perhaps it would've been better by the end of the book, but life is too short to drudge through something I'm not really enjoying.
I completely agree. It really was tedious and not just that but long and drawn out. There's no way some of that needed to be In there. It kind of made me think of someone who's a massive oversharer in Facebook. "Going to the bathroom." "Got dressed." "I showered and then got sick." "Going out now." "I'm bored."

Obviously it was well written but that's what it made me think of simply because some of it was so excruciatingly detailed and slow.

I was disappointed and I do like Donna Tartt so I have to say I'm not completely turned off this book but I don't really see why it got the reviews it did.
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Post by dancing with hugo »

For me, this book was like a run-on sentence: too long, lacking good structure and trying to tell too much in one fell swoop. Given all the other criticisms, I'd add one more: Theo's obsession with the little masterpiece made no sense to me. It felt like a clumsy device threaded through the convoluted story in order to move it forward through too many improbable events that took place in Theo's life. Perhaps this should have been two books?
I know Ms Tartt won the Pulitzer, but in truth, I think the few readers who actually read the ENTIRE book (without skimming) should have gotten a prize. Such perseverance should be rewarded.
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Post by ashley_claire »

I've had this one on my list forever and was starting to feel guilty that I haven't read it yet. But thanks to this I think I will be taking it off. I'm not the fastest reader as it is and I don't have time for books that are lengthy for no reason.
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Post by Amheiser »

I've been reading over the prior posts here about this book and it's amazing to me how varied they are. I guess it must be a book that you either love or hate, but everybody is entitled to their own opinion. When I first started reading this book, I was also reading a book that was very fast-paced so when I would read The Goldfinch, I thought it just seemed slow because of the fast-paced action of the other book. I kept reading it and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed it a lot. I thought that some of the slow places in the book were necessary to include in the story. When Hobie's furniture business was being described with a lot of attention to detail, I felt it helped explain how Theo could get away with the way he ran the store. Other slower places for me were where Theo was describing how he felt, but I felt the author was so accurate with the descriptions of Theo's emotions. I have had losses in my life, but haven't been able to put into words how I felt. When I read Tartt's description of Theo's emotions I thought to myself, yes, that is exactly how it felt. I did feel the author kind of overplayed the drugs. I didn't really feel all of that was necessary for the story except maybe to show how desperate Theo was feeling. All in all, I like the story and I like the ending and the author's thoughts on life.
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Post by AJDaveler »

Few times in my life, I have encountered a book that prevented sleep, leaving my home or any social interaction until I finished "one more chapter". The Goldfinch was just that and more. Watching our young man grow and fail and win was emotional and thrilling.
Re-reading again and getting so much more out of it the second time ...
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Post by sam82 »

Theo Decker is a 13-year old boy living with his single, stylish but struggling fashion editor mother in New York City. On the way to a school conference a horrific and unexpected event happens that will forever change Theo's life. I don't want to give away too much about the story because it is impossible to put down and a must read. I was amazed at Tartt's ability to write so believably as an adolescent boy. The things that occur in his life after the life changing event are at times coincidental or possibly unbelievable but I found myself not minding that. I simply wanted to find out what would happen to him next. I had such an uncontrollable urge to find out what would happen to him. Part of me kept reading because I wanted him to land on top. The book was so mesmerizing and in the worst possible turn of events, ended in such a puddle of boring philosophical ranting. Wondering what anyone else thought about the ending or just the book in general. Thanks.
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Post by pyb »

I, too, was disappointed with this book after all the hype I had heard. It was, in fact, heartily recommended to me by the owner of a book store.
I found many parts were drawn out (especially Theo's time in Las Vegas), while many others were just too far-fetched to be believable.
There were parts (the MET scene) and characters (Hobie, Pippa) I loved, but I would not tell a friend, "You have to read this!" To be honest, it was not what I would consider "well-written"; I prefer more stylized/poetic prose.
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Post by adamu7777 »

Finished the Goldfinch and loved it. I'm trying to find a section I read desperately with no luck. Can anybody give me a page number or reference for the part where Theo is talking about how he loves to read a book that Pippa has already read?
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