The Goldfich by Donna Tartt - Review & Discussion

Discuss the January 2014 book of the month "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tart.
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Hannaa_Campbell
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Re: The Goldfich by Donna Tartt - Review & Discussion

Post by Hannaa_Campbell »

I shall have to add this to my list of books that I haven't but must read.
"Pain demands to be felt" - John Green

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Post by BookFever »

I just finished this book. My initial thoughts are: it was very long. I agree with the reader who pointed out that it could have been 200 pages shorter. I did actually enjoy it though - it's incredibly original and I am pretty amazed at how the author takes the reader through the detailed and long-winded story of the narrator. However, I found myself recognizing portions of the book where I knew the author was going to go into a lot of detail about facts or situations that were not imperative to the understanding or enjoyment of the story and, when I recognized this, I was more prone to skim over those sections. It made reading the book quicker but I'm sure that's not what the author intended. This is coming from someone who is not very well-versed in art so I imagine it would have been a lot more interesting if I new more about the artists and paintings referenced in the book. If you have the time to dedicate to reading it, I would recommend it. But if you're one who enjoys quick and easy reads, this book probably isn't for you. I'll go with a 3.5/5. Yes, the .5 seemed necessary.
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Post by JennyS »

I have to admit that I've been reading almost exclusively on my Kindle and, when my mom gave me the hardcover version of The Goldfinch for my birthday, I wasn't sure when I would read it... it's just so heavy!

Once I decided to give my arm muscles a workout (soon after receiving the book), I found that the writing made the burn worth it! I really enjoyed reading this book, as much as one can enjoy some parts of it. The writing and language that Tartt uses is beautiful. At first, I was pulling out my purple pen (editor) and making cuts, but by the time I was less than a third of the way through the story I had let go and was just enjoying. The descriptions are sometimes long, and some of her sentence structure is untraditional, but it stood up to the events and to Theo's voice.

Simultaneously gritty and beautiful, tough and tender, I found it difficult to put this book down (even when it would have been physically easier to do so!) and consumed it in a couple of days. I am not an art history lover, I've been to my share of art museums but do not always seek them out, but there was SO much going on in this book with all of the characters, their changing relationships, and Theo's struggles to live his life that I didn't find any part of it tedious.

I am interested in reading some of her other work. Any recommendations for which should be next?
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Post by words-worth-reading »

I will definitely count "The Goldfinch" as one of my favorite books for this year. Donna Tartt is a master at suspense writing. I loved her earlier novel "The Secret History" and this new book surpasses that one. This is the story of a young boy caught up in an adult world of intrigue, drugs and gambling. Even though it is 700 plus pages long, it was a book that kept me reading because I was so concerned for the protagonist welfare i did not want to stop before I could find out if he would be ok. Tartt describes in incredible detail a hardcore life of drugs and drinking for two young boys living without parental supervision in Las Vegas. She also describes in detail the world of antiques and furniture restoration as if she had spent time pursuing that as a career. The character development is terrific, they seem to come alive in my imagination. A friend and I sat arguing about the physical features of Boris. Each of us has imagined him differently but feel so strongly about the image we have conjured that we each think we are correct. Another great book by Donna Tartt

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Post by Mike J »

Whilst reading this book I longed to put it down but could not quite do so. I think this is it being simultaneously too longwinded but well written.
The narrator’s voice is impeccably consistent – which is a fantastic achievement over such a long book.

I thought something truly exciting was going to happen. Agreed a shoot out in an Amsterdam carpark would be exciting enough for me.

However, I think this book is trying to be an existentialist marker for this age. Theo is an average Joe who reacts as we would act in a universe void of any meaning outside human interaction. The journey can be interesting and even though it is as bad as you may have feared it might be, you can be uplifted and find meaning in the smallest interaction with the world.

It is too woolly to be convincing. As pointed out above, editing may have solved its difficulties, including this one

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Post by suzy1124 »

WOW! what a " mixed bag ", this has been on my TBR list for eons............my big pet peeve these days is a lack of good editing , aka writers just simply being in love w/their own voice!...i'll give it a whirl tho, as an Artist the subject interests me greatly........

My daughter was right, she told me " ppl either love or hate this book "
" We don't see things as they are but as we are "

Carpe Diem!

Suzy...

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Mike J
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Post by Mike J »

Suzy

I would be really interested to hear what you think.

I received it as a present and had no preconceptions (save it was for sale in a prominent position at an airport)

You have had these judgments to digest before you leap in - I wonder how it will effect what your opinion is

enjoy

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Post by lady_charlie »

I waited and waited for this book to be cheaper or available from the library. I finally bought it and I hated it, hated it, hated it, oh my goodness, really really enjoyed it. I told anyone who would listen it was the worst book I was ever glad I actually finished.

If you like Forrest Gump, The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window, or even the movie with Bruce Willis called Three Days to Kill, you will like this book.

So I hated it and I loved it, how do you like that?
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suzy1124
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Post by suzy1124 »

Mike J wrote:Suzy

I would be really interested to hear what you think.

I received it as a present and had no preconceptions (save it was for sale in a prominent position at an airport)

You have had these judgments to digest before you leap in - I wonder how it will effect what your opinion is

enjoy

***************************************************************************************************************************************************Will do Mike!
Welcome aboard!

Hey L.C.!...
" We don't see things as they are but as we are "

Carpe Diem!

Suzy...

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Post by bookowlie »

I thought this book needed a really good editor. A talented editor easily could have edited out 200 pages. I was surprised this book won a major award. I finished the book since it was a selection for my book club last spring. If it wasn't my book club's selection, I would have never keep reading after the first 75 - 100 pages. On a positive note, I did find Boris to be a magnetic character. He will be remembered as one of the great characters in a book.

-- 26 Oct 2014, 17:42 --
bookowlie wrote:I thought this book needed a really good editor. A talented editor easily could have edited out 200 pages. I was surprised this book won a major award. I finished the book since it was a selection for my book club last spring. If it wasn't my book club's selection, I would have never keep reading after the first 75 - 100 pages. On a positive note, I did find Boris to be a magnetic character. He will be remembered as one of the great characters in a book.
I wanted to add that I also loved Hobie. Something about him reminded me of Hagrid from Harry Potter. I loved the sections about Hobie's love of restoring antiques. It's a hobby I don't know too much about, and it was clear that Hobie had a real love for restoring old pieces. There was some well-drawn characters in this book. However, I still felt there were too many sections of the book that just went off on too many tangents. There was a whole chunk of the book about the Barbour family that could have been severely edited....not really important to the story. I read somewhere that the author took 10 years to write this book. I have a feeling that's what led to the disjointed plot.
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Post by 3chicnP »

Oh my gosh I have this book in my bookshelf and I need to read it right now. I'm currently reading a classic but I'm going to drop everything and read this book.
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Post by Fran »

Apparently The Goldfinch is the book most abandoned by readers in 2014. With the popularity of ebooks companies like Amazon can say with certaintity at what point a reader abandoned a book, wonder how an author feels when they get this kind of data.
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Post by Himmelslicht »

Fran wrote:Apparently The Goldfinch is the book most abandoned by readers in 2014. With the popularity of ebooks companies like Amazon can say with certaintity at what point a reader abandoned a book, wonder how an author feels when they get this kind of data.
Wow, that must have hurt.

I read it and to be honest I have no idea how I reached the end.
As someone else said above, and as I said a million times, this book could have been shortened to 500 pages. There's too much going on and at the same time there's not that much. So many scenes could have been shortened or cut and there's just a lot going on that doesn't matter in the book and doesn't add anything to it.
On the other hand though, I loved how deep she described the charaters' psyche. It was amazing to see the depth of their thoughts, their feelings and how crushed they were for their own circumstances.
I think it was a dark book in general and the end was truly intriguing and beautiful, but at the same time I feel that some questions were suspended mid-air and we deserved an explanation.
If only she had shortened the book... we could have known the answers.
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Post by TammyO »

This unfortunately happened to me as well. I began reading the book and stopped reading it midpoint months ago. I have added it to my want to read list again, however. Hopefully, I will complete it and discuss it honestly and more thoroughly. I just found it to be a little underwhelming.
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Post by ananya92 »

I'm almost done reading this one, and the author's research and detailed analysis in the book, makes me want to learn more about art history. I very well written book, though I think it can be a bit shorter.

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