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The Goldfinch
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Previous Reads: Fiction > The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

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message 1: by Louise, Group Founder (new)

Louise | 680 comments Mod
Happy new year!

Our first group read for 2018 is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt,

The Goldfinch (from Wikipedia)
The Goldfinch is the third novel by American author Donna Tartt, her first new book in 11 years. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014.
The novel is a coming of age told in the first person by Theodore Decker who, at the age of 13, survives a terrorist bombing at an art museum in which his beloved mother dies. Staggering out through the debris, he takes with him a small, Dutch Golden Age painting, The Goldfinch, which will serve as a singular source of hope as he descends into a world of crime. The painting is one of the few surviving works by Rembrandt's most promising pupil, Carel Fabritius; almost his entire oeuvre was destroyed in the Delft explosion of 1654, in which Fabritius was killed.


lethe | 218 comments Happy New Year!

Looking forward to starting this :)


message 3: by Karin (new)

Karin I started this, but could not finish. It is written EXTREMELY well, but wasn't for me. I hope you all enjoy this one!


message 4: by Tamara (last edited Jan 10, 2018 04:52PM) (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 638 comments I read it a couple of years ago. I did finish it. I thought it was good but unnecessarily long. It could have been reduced by a couple of hundred pages.
I'd be interested to see what the rest of you think of it.


Elizabeth (elzbthj) I'm curious to know if anyone else felt Tartt didn't necessarily deliver what she offered in the synopsis? I strongly felt the book didn't correspond with what induced me to buy it.


Isabelle (iamaya) | 98 comments I have only read the first hundred pages but for now, I am quite hooked to it. The language is rich and the story well written and I am enjoying it so far.


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindaleehall) | 6 comments I read this a few years ago and then loaned it to my son-in-law. We agreed that we really enjoyed the first two thirds of the book, but felt that it seemed to fade away after that.


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 933 comments Mod
I'm very on the fence about reading this one. But I got my Kindle loan from the library so I will give it an honest go. I can't say that the discussion is selling me on it though lol.
I read, The Secret History and while the writing was quite good, I didn't love the story at all. I was expecting more something else and imo the plot wasn't exciting enough for me. personally. Some of your comments make me think this might be the same. We shall see!


Elizabeth (elzbthj) Anita wrote: "I'm very on the fence about reading this one. But I got my Kindle loan from the library so I will give it an honest go. I can't say that the discussion is selling me on it though lol.
I read, The..."


This is perhaps a more articulate way of what I was trying to say! Tartt writes well but she draws you in with one idea then delivers something quite different which can be quite frustrating.


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 933 comments Mod
I'm just under halfway through. I'm actually enjoying Theo's story, but I am also beginning to feel like I'm waiting for something to happen. 350 pages in, probably the third event - or change in Theo's life. After this many pages I'm really ready for the excitement. *fingers crossed*


message 11: by Rae (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rae Sengele (raesengele) | 15 comments I'm about 7 pages behind you, Anita, and I have to agree. I'm enjoying it, but I'm not getting the "criminal underworld" that the book flap promised me. Though, I did catch myself talking out loud to the book when Theo was on the phone with the lawyer something I only ever do when I'm really invested in a story. Which kind of illustrates what's so weird about this book for me, I'm drawn in, but I'm constantly waiting for something to happen at the same time. And I usually love slow, quiet books, but in this case...I'm not hating it, I'm not bored, I'm just constantly waiting for something more to happen. I'm not sure if it's because the flap promised me a bit more seedy underbelly than I'm actually getting or if it's because there's this constant hum of tension that's just under the surface, yet that same tension isn't really reflected on the actual surface? Does that make sense?


message 12: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Ridley | 2 comments I read this a couple of years ago too, and loved it until the last 200 pages or so - then it needed drastic editing! Can't understand why she got away with that rambling at the end


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 933 comments Mod
Yes, Rae, I think we're on the exact same wavelength here with this book. I was also pretty agitated during the phone conversation with the lawyer, and the events that occur right afterwards which left me with the feeling of, "again? But what happened so far in this story? When will something happen? Will something happen?"

I'm also sensing a trend in which Theo develops strong, meaningful relationships that are then dropped quite suddenly. How many times in your life do you meet that one person who is everything you need in a friend at that moment in your life? First Andy, who gave him silence and space as well as a tie to his past before his mother died, then there is Hobie (which kind of includes Pippa) who lends Theo a lot of that nurturing grounding he needs to cope with the loss of his mother and lack of parenting, and then our dear Boris. I love Boris.

But will these people turn up again? They've become such important characters in the book and then they've slipped from the pages. I was thinking the same of the actual painting at one point when it finally reappeared 200 pages after it slipped away. Considering the book is titled after it and it is supposedly his sole consolation through his lifetime of dark and seedy criminal activities I was surprised at its absence.

And, yes, the tension under the surface! I'm beginning to feel as though my expectations are the source of tension in this book. It builds and builds without coming to any climax, and then resets.

Haha, and after all this griping I still can't say I don't enjoy reading it so far. What kind of writing witchery is this? Just please give me something soon!


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 933 comments Mod
I'm hitting that last stretch now, Barbara. I've seen many comments agreeing with you about the rambling at the ending... Here I go then!


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 933 comments Mod
I finished. This is pretty much like The Secret History: I didn't hate it, but it wasn't what I was expecting to read. However, imo, this book was better. I don't know if it was going in knowing that I would get because of this conversation or what, but it wasn't all that horrible. I agree there were about 50 pages there at the end that seemed quite overblown, even for her. While I didn't hate it because the writing was good, I do think I'm put off of Tartt for good now.

Also, I really liked Boris.


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