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Group Read Archive > Group Fiction Read - June & July 2014 - The Goldfinch - SPOILERS ALLOWED

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) | 5458 comments Mod
The discussion thread is now open. Spoilers are allowed on this thread. Given it's length we have decided to make this a two month read. Don't read on if you haven't finished the book. Can you also unclick the 'Add to my update feed' people don't see your comments in their home screen.

message 2: by Jo (new)

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
When I got to approx p180, (view spoiler) as I had to stop reading and it feels like a cliffhanger.

Can't wait to get back to it later.

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) yeah, the dad. I had the same feeling.

These turn-arounds will still happen a lot, and especially when you're not expecting them :)

What are your feelings on his relation to Pippa? Or maybe you haven't read up to that yet... It should be there, somewhere around the dad part.

message 4: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 585 comments I was given this as a Christmas gift and read it immediately.
Here's my review

message 5: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 585 comments Jo wrote: "When I got to approx p180, [spoilers removed] as I had to stop reading and it feels like a cliffhanger.

Can't wait to get back to it later."

I have to say I found I had so much sympathy for Theo, it seems especially harsh that he ends up with his Dad. The dramatic twists and turns do make it an exciting and excellent read. I had to stop several times to absorb what I was reading before continuing.

message 6: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 585 comments I feel a little reluctant to post anything else at the moment as unsure as to where everyone is in their read. I would hate to spoil it for anyone.
I shall be patient and wait for a few more comments before adding anything else.
It has provoked a lot of controversy, reading around a lot of other threads, there are a lot of people who really dislike it. Oh well, I supposed it would be a very boring world if we all liked the same things.

message 7: by Debbie (last edited May 20, 2014 05:02AM) (new)

Debbie | 585 comments Evelina wrote: "yeah, the dad. I had the same feeling.

These turn-arounds will still happen a lot, and especially when you're not expecting them :)

What are your feelings on his relation to Pippa? Or maybe you h..."

I did love his connection with Pippa, I found it realistic and tempered with fraught interactions that tally with the shock and grief they were experiencing at such a young age. It was obsessive but understandably so given she also survived the incident that killed his Mother. He was slightly obsessed from the first moment he saw her in the museum where he was bored of waiting for his Mother.
What was your reaction Evelina? Did you find it credible?

message 8: by Jo (new)

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
I have just been reading a particularly difficult section about his feelings for Pippa.

Clearly, from the outset, he has felt this "love" (obsession) for her and I think that he sees her as being there, being somehow his saviour and reason to live, just as his mother is taken. Both he and Pippa lost so much in the explosion, and they were - to his mind- destined to find each other again. Theo struggles to cope with the strength of the connection he feels for her.

I just read the section last night where she visits with her English boyfriend and Theo's feelings about Pippa and the boyfriend and how he remains unable to cope with it all, even all these years later, so much so he must seek solace with opiates. He is reckless with his professional life, walking right on the edge as far as conning people is concerned as well. He has lost so much, what else does he have to lose?

I cannot wait to read more.

message 9: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 458 comments I'm at the part where he is living with his father. Theo has been through so much already! I'm sure he has PTSD. It is hard to imagine how his dad can be so selfish. Hope I didn't say too much. My next post I'll hide the spoilers.

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) Debbie wrote: "It was obsessive but understandably so given she also survived the incident that killed his Mother. ..."

yeah, I also thought that it was obsessive, but it was justified that way somehow. Don't we all love somewhat obsessively when we're that young? Especially with what happened to him. At least back when I was that age (and, I admit, older...) I also loved sort of obsessively (alright, I'll admit, I still do..)... it was really refreshing to read about someone else, especially a male character, doing that as well. Although he was written by a woman still.
And yes, I definitely found it credible! In the situation that Theo was in.. He had to latch onto something. There was pretty much no one, nothing for him to love, and a human being must feel something to feel secure, grounded. He had to let his emotions go somewhere.

You encountered a lot of negative opinions about this book? I can't believe it :O I pretty much only saw good things! Lucky me. I just can't allow myself to think that someone would hate this book. It's so full.. Full of everything.

I do agree about the spoilers though. Jo, do you mind putting a spoiler tag on the paragraph of your comment where you're saying "I just read the section.."... I know this is the spoilers allowed thread, but we'd hate to ruin it for someone who's in the middle of the book :( they can click the spoiler if they really want to :)

As for Theo living with his father, man, is that an intense part! Probably my favorite one, because it's very fleshed out. What do you think of Theo's relationship with Boris, Sandy? (the question can be addressed to all of you as well :) ). Personally, for me Boris was probably my favorite character in the book.

message 11: by Jan (new)

Jan Notzon | 261 comments There was never a boring part of this book--at least, for me. The story struck me as so real and well told with amazing twists and turns and character development. Plus, I am in awe of Donna Tartt's imagery. She never repeats herself for 800 pages!
I must say that if I understand the philosophical wrap-up expressed through Boris and the protagonist (and there is no guarantee I do) I find the idea of "following your heart" even if it leads you to bad actions because they may very well have good results a bit solipsistic. But this is a really extraordinary work in my view.

message 12: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 458 comments This is one one of my favorite books this year. I'm too tired to post more tonight after working all day, but I want to discuss more regarding this book. I agree with you Jan, amazing story.

message 13: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 458 comments * one

message 14: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 458 comments Back to the comment above: I think the relationship between Theo and Boris was symbiotic. They are two almost orphans, who clung to each other, trying to grow up without parental support. Boris may introduce Theo to the darker side of substance abuse and thievery but also comforts and loves him. Later in the book you see their relationship from Boris' perspective and understand more about Theo's destructive nature.

What does everyone think about the comparison of this work and themes in the book to Dickens?

message 15: by Bobbi Jo (new)

Bobbi Jo (moon_petal) | 34 comments I didn't enjoy the book as a whole as much as I thought I would. I bought into the hype about this being somewhat like Dickens and expected more. The writing on its own is fabulous, but the plot dragged for me. The beginning of the novel set a fast pace and was so interesting to me. By the time I reached the middle it felt tedious to read because the plot slowed so much. I was sympathetic with Theo through most of the novel. But many of his choices towards the last one third made me lose sympathy for him. I lost a connection to the main character. The whole Pippa situation was a tad bizarre. I thought he would end up with her in the end.

message 16: by Paul (new)

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) | 5458 comments Mod
Finished a day or so ago, and have just finished my review here

It is very well written, effortless to read, and I liked the change in pace.

Felt sorry for Theo, as the circumstances that he ended up in were not his fault most of the time but he didn't always make the best choices. I thought that the ending was too philosophical. Didn't seem to fit with the rest of the book.

message 17: by Jo (new)

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
I agree re the ending, it seemed a bit out of place, but I suppose that after everything that had happened to him he was looking for the meaning of it all, to finally find peace with himself. But it was a bit long, could have been a much shorter section.

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) why does everyone hate the ending part.. to me the philosophy at the end was like almost the best part

message 19: by Jo (new)

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
I don't hate it, I just thought it was a bit out of sorts with the rest, a bit overdone in the context of the style of the book overall. I get why, but just not why so much.

message 20: by Jan (new)

Jan Notzon | 261 comments I found the philosophical musings interesting if coming to questionable conclusions. Perhaps the fact that there was so little in the rest of the book, it might have seemed a trifle out-of-place(?). But I didn't mind it at all.

message 21: by Paul (new)

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) | 5458 comments Mod
For me the ending didn't fit at all. It felt that she was trying to tie things up, and sometime these stories need to be left with unanswered questions.

message 22: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 553 comments Finished this today. I had mixed feelings while reading it. Some of the writing is absolutely beautiful, but the changes in pace niggled me a bit. I found the section in Las Vegas quite dull - it really seemed to come alive again once Theo was back in New York. I really liked the ending - for me it brought it all together and really lifted the book from an overlong thriller to a novel which had something to say about life and humanity. That said (as Boris would say) it did go on a bit, that last section. Still, a very good read.
This is my review

message 23: by Christina (new)

Christina (keepcalmreadon) | 6 comments I really enjoyed this book, it read like a true literary classic - the details, while lengthy at points, was haunting and really completed it for me. Like many of you, I had a little trouble digesting the ending. There were a few lines that really stuck with me, but overall, I felt it was a bit too philosophical and unbelievable to be coming from Theo.

The hopeless romantic in me desperately wanted Theo and Pippa to end up together, but in a way, I think it was better they did not. They'd just been through too much together, and as Pippa put it, they had the same weaknesses and flaws. I enjoyed that Theo finally understood that they could not be together as well, even though he will always love her.

I love how this book stayed with me for days after I was finished with it. Theo, Boris and Hobie were such vibrant characters, many times I could feel them just leaping off the page. I'm so glad this was a recommended book! Definitely one I will pass along to friends :)

message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) | 5458 comments Mod
It is definitely a book that leaves a laying impression

message 25: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Mcgee | 209 comments I have just finished. I loved this book, it was long but the detail was necessary . I was ready to give it five stars until the end which didn't fit the book or the character. It was slid the only part of the book that I found full and overly written.

message 26: by Jo (new)

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
I agree with you Nikki. No word was wasted but the last section didn't sit quite right.

message 27: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Mcgee | 209 comments I totally agree with no words were wasted, which is amazing when you consider how many words she uses - until the end.

I felt like she was trying to make the book more profound or important and there really was no need.

message 28: by Maria ( ZITA ) (new)

Maria ( ZITA ) Silva | 17 comments I am reading " The first call from Heaven" By Mitch Albom, liking it right now.

message 29: by Maria ( ZITA ) (new)

Maria ( ZITA ) Silva | 17 comments My next to read is " The Goldfinch "

message 30: by Jan (new)

Jan Notzon | 261 comments Now reading Crime and Punishment (first time since shortly after college) and Arcadia. First time I've tried to read two fiction books at once. Don't think I'll mix up the plots on these two. They're rather polar opposites.

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