Harlem Alley Literary Group discussion

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The Goldfinch > The Goldfinch

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message 1: by Linda (last edited Jun 18, 2018 03:52PM) (new)

Linda Mathesius | 5 comments Mod
July 13 will be our face to face discussion of the Goldfinch. After we meet, we will share our discussion with everyone here. We invite you to take part in the conversation by sharing your own thoughts.


message 2: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie McClain | 2 comments Mod
Started reading the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Looking forward to our first face to face discussion on July 13th! Also looking forward to those of you who will add your comments to ours here on Goodreads.


message 3: by Diana (new)

Diana Dugina | 4 comments Hi. I’m here.


message 4: by Linda (last edited Jun 25, 2018 06:51AM) (new)

Linda Mathesius | 5 comments Mod
Welcome to our Goodreads group. See you at our face to face discussion!


message 5: by Linda (last edited Jul 14, 2018 10:44AM) (new)

Linda Mathesius | 5 comments Mod
One of the first opinions in our discussion of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt was with regard to the detachment with which Theo described the after-effects of the explosion in the museum. This led to a discussion about the character's personality and the author's writing style. Theo seemed somewhat mature for his 13 years, but perhaps his relationships with his parents and isolation explained that. There were several thoughts about the merits of the "real time" narrative style that is a device that Tartt has employed in at least one previous work, sometimes referred to as "mono-focal first-person narration"
I was curious what the literary world had to say about the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. A Vanity Fair article contrasts the praise, awards and the harsh criticisms Donna Tartt received for her novel. https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/20...
Apparently, our members are not alone in drawing parallels to Dostoevsky, Dickens and other masters. It's also possible that some of the most snobbish publications take a knee jerk approach and desire to knock any popular work off its literary perch.
In response to the question about the art history accuracies or inaccuracies in the book, my google level research shows, at least regarding the painting and artist, that Tartt was spot on. What she didn't know was that her explosion story line paralleled the real life survival of Fabritius' Goldlfinch. "‘When coincidences like this start happening you know the muses are at your side" she told an interviewer.
In an analogy observed by one of our group, it was pointed out that the bird chained to its perch was not unlike the boy/man chained to the burden of the painting in his possession. An explanation of Theo's mother's deep appreciation of the painting could be its metaphorical representation of her marriage to her controlling husband.
With the film based on the book coming out next year, we had fun sharing which actors we imagined playing some of the main characters; especially Hobie and Audrey. We also shared our favorite characters. Boris was mentioned because Theo was safe when he was with him, even though the young Ukrainian emigre is a bad moral influence. As in real life relationships; we sometimes "take the bad with the good." "They were both broken people that needed each other."
There was a long discussion of Hobie's home, how his lifestyle and personality (and Welty's as well, we assume) transcended social class and status with his entertaining "Park Avenue types" in his home with whom one might pass on the street and never make eye contact.
I'll stop here, inviting everyone who participated in our in person discussion last night to chime in. Please elaborate on any of your points I shared here, and add any I have left out. We invite everyone who is a Goodreads member of the Harlem Alley Literary Group to feel welcome to add to our discussion. We expect this one to last well into the future past the release of the film version.


message 6: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie McClain | 2 comments Mod
I enjoyed the story of The Goldfinch, though I must confess I did a little skimming when I got too impatient. I would have enjoyed reading every word if I had all the time in the world, as it was beautifully and vividly written. Yes perhaps the author could have benefited from a more ruthless editor. I read some reviewers who commented that some of the things that happened were a little too convenient for the plot, and therefore somewhat unbelievable. But I think that happens with all fiction. (See James Patterson--Ugh!) So I think you have to ask yourself "why am I reading this?" Is it so I can pick it apart and determine the feasability of the events or do I just want to sit down and enjoy reading a good story?


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda Mathesius | 5 comments Mod
Bonnie wrote: "I enjoyed the story of The Goldfinch, though I must confess I did a little skimming when I got too impatient. I would have enjoyed reading every word if I had all the time in the world, as it was b..."
I think so, too re: we read what we want to read for our own reasons. Gone With the Wind was considered much more high brow when it was first published, but now some (literary snobs) regard it as a teenage level read.


message 8: by Diana (new)

Diana Dugina | 4 comments I enjoyed what I read of the GoldFinch. I enjoyed the flourid wrjting style. In sone ways her style reminded me of Dostoyevsky, the inner debates. I’m not sure, I’ll finish the nook, perhaps the Outlined version. It was a bit heavy for me at this particular time in my life. I think moving on to something historical,..“Cry The Beloved....” will be better.


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