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The Goldfinch
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Posts Gone By > Finch: KIDS: Chp 5-6

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message 1: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Nov 27, 2013 08:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments ***Open discussion of Chapters 5-6 below, no spoiler marks needed. Be sure you have read through Chapter 6 before reading! Note: if this is your first visit to this topic I recommend you read this post about discussion ideas, then skip down and post your initial response, then read and respond to other people's posts.***

At the very least check in here when you finish this section and tell us if you are enjoying the book. I'll post specific discussion ideas below, along with some general topics we'll see repeated throughout the book.

Chapter 5-6 discussions:

1) Which scene in this section evoked the strongest emotional reaction from you?

2) Compare/contrast Larry's and Audrey's deaths.

General Discussions:

1) Share your favorite quote(s) from this section.

2) Share your favorite word(s) used in this section.

3) Do you have a favorite or most intriguing character at this point in the novel?

Location reminder

If you are returning to this topic after having continued past this section, here is a plot reminder:

Theo falls asleep at Hobie's after a phone call with Xandra.


message 2: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Nov 28, 2013 01:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments I always find it easier to write about a novel that is flawed. Goldfinch is an extreme challenge in that regard because, so far, it is superbly crafted.

Emotion. Over the course of this section we tumble with Theo into a dark tunnel of substance abuse. His initial interactions with both alcohol and recreational drugs come directly from his father's hands.

We meet Boris and watch a friendship blossom. Tartt shows amazing deftness in her careful descriptions of Theo's teenage sexuality.

Theo builds a relationship with his father. It's a messy, crappy relationship full of lies and secrets.

All this builds the backdrop for the penultimate scene of this section - Larry's confrontation with Theo. Theo (and the reader) are thrown about in a hurricane of emotions: confusion, fear, pain, doubt, anger, embarrassment. In the middle of this maelstrom a small sprig of hope and insight into Theo's future springs up as we learn about the money.

Theo's relationship with his father is utterly destroyed as the mountain of lies crumbles down piece by piece.

Two Deaths. Both of Theo's parents die sudden, violent deaths which left him adrift in life. The comparison ends there though. Audrey died while caring for her son, being responsible and taking him to his school meeting. Larry died running away from his family, possibly even committing suicide to escape his failures.

More importantly Theo's reaction is different. After his mother's death he loses all control of his life. This is appropriate though since Theo is a child. When Larry dies Theo takes control, in two years he has started to mature into an adult and refuses let the world retake control of him. Even though he has most of his "growing up" to do... this contrast in his response shows that he has taken the first steps away from childhood.

Quotes. "Um, we don't hit women in America." He scowled, and spit out an apple seed. "No. Americans just persecute smaller countries that believe different from them."

I was celebrating my alcoholic potato-chip Thanksgiving with Boris in front of the television.

...a sadness I couldn't shake off, a sense of silent people filing toward the stadium exits and cold rain falling in college towns back east.

Words. slag cooks, amerikanskii, faff, ruminatively, achromatism, foisting.

Character. Boris, no question about it. He's a miscreant, a sage, a partner, a conniver, a lover, and most importantly a friend. I certainly hope we learn more about what happens to Badr al-Dine as Theo's story continues!

Deborah (brandiec) Hi, all. As suggested above, I'm checking in just to say that I finished the book and did not care for it all, so I won't be actively participating in the discussion this time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

message 4: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited Dec 27, 2013 08:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments I was on the edge of my seat for Theo's entire bus adventure from Las Vegas to New York. Initially I was petrified that the bus station employee would refuse to sell Theo a ticket because of his age and would then turn him over to law enforcement and/or child protective services. The situation was further compounded by Theo's ingestion of an illegal drug cocktail just prior to arriving at the bus station. I was terrified that Theo would be busted with Popper and would be kicked off of the bus. I was waiting on pins and needles for the dog to bark or squeak or rustle around and bring attention to himself. When Theo was finally apprehended for having the dog, but was not forced off of the bus, I was astounded.

The toast given by Boris during Christmas Eve dinner at the Venetian "I thank you all for your company. And I wish us all health, and happiness, and that we all shall live until the next Christmas" was too obvious to expect that they all would actually live until the next holiday. While I wasn't sure if it would be Larry or Boris, I was certain one or both of them would meet their demise.

While Audrey's death was a terrible shock, Larry's death brought me a feeling of long overdue relief. This section of the book was so dark, dreary and filled with child neglect and illicit behavior that I was glad to finally see a possible way out for Theo. At the point that Larry struck Theo in a rage while attempting to once again extract money from his education fund, I was ready for him to disappear. My only regret is that Larry died in an alcohol induced car crash rather than in Boris's words by "revolver, roadside, or roof" at the hands of a mobster over unpaid debt.

My favorite quotes include "It seemed like the kind of room where a call girl or a stewardess would be murdered on television."

"Living with them was like living with roommates I didn't particularly get along with. When they were at home, I stayed in my room with the door shut. And when they were gone-which was most of the time-I prowled through the farther reaches of the house, trying to get used to its openness."

"The worst thing about the explosion was how I carried it in my body-the heat, the bone-jar, and the slam of it."

"Definitely she was cute-hot even; but the glance she slid over me was anxiety-provoking, something about her of a bitchy fast-food clerk or maybe a mean babysitter."

My favorite words include: gulags, faff, burghers, viscid, transcience, fatalistic, Russianate, bint, rhetorical, klicks.

My favorite character was Mr. Silver. "..white sports coat, shoe-polish hair, and all-only this time standing beside him was a large guy with blurred blue tattoos snaked all over his forearms, holding an aluminum baseball bat." Mr. Silver was a perfect gangster, polite to Theo, yet utterly menacing. One of my favorite Mr. Silver lines: "Is everything okay with you two? You guys having an problems out here this afternoon?...Because if you ever do? said Mr. Silver. Have problems of any nature? I can take care of them for you like that."

message 5: by Andrew, Wound Up (new) - rated it 4 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments Deborah wrote: "Hi, all. As suggested above, I'm checking in just to say that I finished the book and did not care for it all, so I won't be actively participating in the discussion this time.

Happy Thanksgiving!"

Deborah - if you get a chance stop into our discussion of the full book. I'm interested to hear what you didn't love about the book... I think our opinions might not be so far apart (now that I've FINALLY finished).

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