The Goldfinch is a brilliant story with memorable characters and most of the book is incredibly well done and fun to read.
"Most" being the operative wThe Goldfinch is a brilliant story with memorable characters and most of the book is incredibly well done and fun to read.
"Most" being the operative word.
Tartt needed an editor to cut out a lot of the repetitive detail (Like several other reviewers, I too found myself page skimming -- sometimes the detail is fascinating, oftentimes it's unnecessary and just slows down the story.)
There are a few other nits a good editor could have fixed, e.g. the internet makes cameo appearances but it's inconsistent - characters will make use of it in the way people do in 2013 but then later in the same scene they seem to forget it exists (and there's much more of the latter than the former-- Tartt recently did an interview with the New York Times where she admits to only using the web "to look up phone numbers" and her unfamiliarity is pretty evident, which is a problem in a novel whose main protagonists are 20somethings), a number of key plot points are telegraphed way in advance in a manner that feels more heavy-handed than than skillful, there are minor-but-critical unexplained plot points (e.g. why Theo's mother never considered leaving his father) whose omission seems curious in a novel that goes into such minute detail about everything else. And then of course there are the adult Theo's relationships with women, all of which seem overly chaste and prim and bloodless (especially compared to his relationship with Boris)-- even when he professes otherwise.
There's a lot of Great Expectations in this novel-- I can't imagine it's coincidence that one of the main characters is called Pippa-- and Tartt frequently uses Dickens beloved device of the happy coincidence to move the plot forward. Usually Tartt makes the device work, but there are other times where the plot twists seem plucked from a forgettable TV movie of the week.
The final chapter could also have used some heavier editing--" philosophizing" is a great way to end Theo's story, but the chapter just drags on forever, like a well meaning guest who won't stop saying goodbye.
I gave it 4 stars because it's a really masterful story and the fairy tale quality makes it markedly different from so much of modern fiction. I just wish the editors would have had a heavier hand....more
No one understand the world of the upper middle class blue state suburbanite like Perrotta. He is my favorite contemporary writer by far and this bookNo one understand the world of the upper middle class blue state suburbanite like Perrotta. He is my favorite contemporary writer by far and this book just confirms that. Brilliantly put together stories, glimpses into the lives of people I feel like I could have known. Only with a twist or an edge that makes you think about them in a completely different light. Perrotta is a master....more
Really touching book based on an unlikely premise: what if Justin Bieber, at age 11, was a very smart, introspective kid who felt lost and trapped inReally touching book based on an unlikely premise: what if Justin Bieber, at age 11, was a very smart, introspective kid who felt lost and trapped in his superstar life. Wayne does an amazing job of making Jonny a likable character and interesting guide to his life. One of the best books I've read in a while....more
Great for history buffs - he makes an interesting case about how the slaughter and violence in Europe continued in the years after the war with particGreat for history buffs - he makes an interesting case about how the slaughter and violence in Europe continued in the years after the war with particular attention to the huge (>10 million) population transfers between Poland, Germany and Ukraine. Drags a bit in places, but I liked the way he gave perspective to what he was reporting....more