Cover of The Goldfinch
Rated 3.97
72,167 ratings

The Goldfinch

By: Donna Tartt

Publisher: Hachette Trade

Imprint: Little, Brown

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780316055437

Other Formats:

Electronic | Audio

On Sale: | Pages: 784

  • About the Book
  • Reviews
The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel.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.Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art.
"The Goldfinch" arrives to firmly secure Ms. Tartt's reputation as one of the most talented and emotionally engaging novelists of her generation. Although set in the post-9/11 era, this big book (some 780 pages) is old-fashioned in the best sense of the term, combining a heartbreaking coming-of-age tale with a thrilling suspense story.... While the novel is cerebral and erudite, the key characteristic that will keep you reading is its enormous heart, the evident affection and tenderness the author feels for her characters, such that the reader cannot help but care about them as well.... It is fitting that a book that argues so persuasively for the transformative power of great art should itself serve as the best illustration and proof of that premise.
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
...another equally impressive narrative of memorable characters and symphonic suspense.... One of the joys of this entertaining novel is Tartt's authentic, timeless descriptions of New York City in all of its distinct beauty and loneliness... Clocking in at 771 pages, "The Goldfinch" requires commitment from the reader, but it is a commitment that is well rewarded. The reader is swept into an aria of sorts about a lost childhood and a lost mother and a lost painting. "The Goldfinch" sings, page after page.
—San Francisco Chronicle
THE GOLDFINCH possesses the good and bad qualities of Dickens's output. Tartt's novel, like much of the Dickens canon, would have benefited from more rigorous editing. Tartt rarely passes up an opportunity to give us five or six details when one or none would have sufficed.... However, the novel entertains despite its excesses. Tartt's strength is plot. She has created many well-drawn characters and clever twists, although some of the latter depend on coincidences and chance meetings in a city of eight million. THE GOLDFINCH is far from perfect, but give Tartt credit for daring to write a book that is so brazenly different from many other modern novels.
With a Dutch master's attention to detail, Tartt has created a narrative voice that is simultaneously immediate and retrospective, filled with the boy's adolescent anxieties and the man's fermented despair.... While grief may be the novel's bassline, Theo's wit and intelligence provide the book's endearing melody.... Tartt has created a rare treasure: a long novel that never feels long, a book worthy of our winter hibernation by the fire. In fact, toward page 500, a couple of hundred pages after most novelists would have packed up their sentences and closed the covers, she recharges the plot by introducing another complex strain of intrigue involving international gangsters. And so, at the very moment when you fear it might stall, “The Goldfinch” takes flight again.
—Washington Post
There's a passage early on in The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt's massively entertaining, darkly funny new book, that goes a long way toward explaining why its author is finally securing her place alongside the greatest American novelists of the past half-century, including John Updike, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison and that other latter-day Dickensian, John Irving.... Tartt manages to deliver wistful, always wise meditations on class divisions, the contradictions of the art world, the power of memory and the randomness of fate, in which life can take all sorts of seemingly disastrous turns and yet, in true Dickensian fashion, turn out all right in the end. The result is the best book of 2013 so far, and required reading for anyone who loves great literature from this or any other century.
—USA Today
The plot feels Dickensian — a young man, orphaned for much of the book, trying to find love, fortune and a place to belong — as does the structure. You follow “The Goldfinch” breathlessly, as you would a serial; things keep happening to Theo, and putting the book down seems unthinkable.... Tartt has demonstrated a remarkable ability to combine page-turning plot twists with achingly beautiful prose.
—Seattle Times
[T]here should be no comparison between “The Goldfinch” and Tartt's previous novels; this novel is its own rich world.... This novel is a veritable journey for reader and protagonist alike, and one made more pleasurable by Tartt's exquisite eye for the smallest detail.... In “The Goldfinch,” Tartt explores life's dark corners, but through a veil of masterful prose.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
Tartt's latest, "The Goldfinch" — only her third novel in 20-plus years — coheres magnificently. More ambitious and accomplished than "The Secret History," the narrative is tauter even as the book's scope is wider, with events spanning a decade or more and scenes set in multiple locations in America and Europe. The stakes are higher, and the characters, drawn from a wider social milieu, are downright more interesting.... For all its artfulness, and despite a satisfying and wholly unexpected denouement, "The Goldfinch" both describes and understands the arbitrariness of life and never makes it seem simpler or more orderly than the fascinating, troubling mess it is.
—Los Angeles Times
With cunning sleight of hand, Tartt threads into the narrative complex questions about fate and beauty and art. Allowing characters to hash out these and other issues for pages on end, “The Goldfinch” reveals a kinship closer to the Russian masters Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky than to Dickens.... In “The Goldfinch,” art transfixes and inspires, but its value also gives it the power to infect, to corrupt — that “reek of turpentine” behind the gold.... By employing the tropes of Dickens with an expert's craft and skill, Tartt gives shape to a narrative concerning such classic themes as art, love, death and the way we live our lives.... And with “The Goldfinch,” Tartt has crafted a suspenseful, affecting tale filled with complex, well-drawn characters whose often messy, complicated lives define the human experience.... But the lasting effect of “The Goldfinch” lies in the breadth and exhaustion of its inquiries, is couched in the intricate depth of its characters and contained in the beauty and surprise.
—Kansas City Star
[F]or those who like big, twisty books, “The Goldfinch” is a hefty delight.... Although centered around a miniature, “The Goldfinch” has a more expansive geographical canvas than Tartt's two previous works, stretching from New York to Las Vegas and then Amsterdam.... “The Goldfinch” is most often described as Dickensian, which is an apt comparison, both for the big, entertaining plot and the orphan who gets swept along on adventures.... Near the end, “The Goldfinch” shifts into thriller territory, with a few attendant implausibilities. But by that point, a reader is happy to follow Theo – who, like another Dickens character, most definitely is not the hero of his own life – wherever “The Goldfinch” flies.
—Christian Science Monitor
Tartt has penned her most emotionally fully-realized book to date.... These ingredients sound like the setup for a Tartt special, an elaborate and ornate mystery that reaches back to some common secret history. But the suspense is kept at a minimum in "The Goldfinch," with the author much more consumed by exploring mysteries of the heart -- and the mystery of how, when almost everything you love is taken, do you carry on?
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“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.... There are a few missteps, yes. It's hard to believe that television coverage of a terrorist attack like the one Tartt imagines would be interrupted with mattress commercials, and there's a lot more about furniture restoration than I needed. But for the most part, “The Goldfinch” is a triumph with a brave theme running through it: art may addict, but art also saves us from “the ungainly sadness of creatures pushing and struggling to live.” Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction.
—New York Times
It's a novel that weds Ms. Tartt's gift for orchestrating suspense (showcased in her best-selling and much-talked-about 1992 debut, “The Secret History”) with the hard-won knowledge she acquired in her ungainly 2002 novel, “The Little Friend,” of how to map the interior lives of her characters.... Ms. Tartt is adept at harnessing all the conventions of the Dickensian novel — including startling coincidences and sudden swerves of fortune — to lend Theo's story a stark, folk-tale dimension as well as a visceral appreciation of the randomness of life and fate's sometimes cruel sense of humor.... Ms. Tartt recounts these developments with complete authority and narrative verve, injecting even the most unlikely ones with a sense of inevitability while orchestrating a snowballing series of events that will grow ever more dangerous as Theo becomes involved with violent criminals who covet “The Goldfinch” as much as he does. But it's not just narrative suspense that drives this book; it's Theo and Boris, the stars of this enthralling novel, who will assume seats in the great pantheon of classic buddy acts (alongside Laurel and Hardy, Vladimir and Estragon, and Pynchon's Mason and Dixon), taking up permanent residence in the reader's mind.
—New York Times
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