The Goldfinch

8 January, 2014 Fiction 38

The GoldfinchEver since closing the final page on The Secret History, I have been waiting for Donna Tartt to write a new novel.  So why then have I waited almost three months to read The Goldfinch?  No real reason except life got in the way.  The cover of this 800 page book has been staring at me — calling to me — but yet I could not commit to reading 800 pages until last month.  Life slowed down a little and I was able to sit down with this chunkster.  I will admit I was nervous to read The Goldfinch.  Why?  Because it seemed that EVERYONE loved it.  It was the #1 pick on just about every end of the year “Best of” list and I was scared that it would fall flat for me.  What if I was that ONE person who didn’t like it?  The only warning I will give you before you pick up The Goldfinch is to turn off your phone — put everything else aside.  Trust me you don’t want the distractions!

This is one of those books. It’s a book that affirmed my faith in literature and astonished me with its grace, power, poise and brilliance.  Tartt may actually have written one of the greatest books I’ve ever read and I don’t say that lightly.

Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity.

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel that pulls you in and doesn’t let go.  It will keep you up late into the night.  There are so many heartbreaking events in this novel, random twists and turns of fate.   Tartt has written a novel that is flawlessly constructed.  Every element, every twist, every turn of fate, every character and detail has its place and you will read every single word, including the epitaphs at the start of a chapter.  Tartt takes you on the most incredible journey from the Upper West Side moneyed elite to gambling addicts in the suburbs of Vegas; from a Lower East Side drug den to the charming streets of Amsterdam.  Philosophy, art history, baccarat, heroin, childhood bullies, mothers and sons; the bonds between people that last a lifetime and lastly the power of art to change a life — The Goldfinch is truly an enthralling book.  It is a book that I will not forget quickly — if at all.

Have you read The Goldfinch?  What did you think?

The Goldfinch can be purchased from Amazon.

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Jennifer Smeth

Jennifer Smeth

Owner at Book-alicious Mama
Ever since I can remember I have loved to read. Book-alicious Mama is the realization of that passion to read and recommend incredible books. I hope you enjoy my site -- be sure to connect with me via Google+ and Twitter @bookaliciousmom. I recently launched Be Books Consulting, LLC. a full-service, boutique agency offering premium marketing and publicity services to authors.
Jennifer Smeth
Jennifer Smeth



38 Responses to “The Goldfinch”

    • Jennifer Smeth

      Thanks, Ashley! I really do understand why so many people picked it as their top pick of the year. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

  1. Jennine G.

    This is an amazing review. I have so much trouble writing reviews on big books because I’m never sure what to cover and what to leave out…so they always end up very general. This was perfect. I’m going to save it as an example of how to review a big book!

    And I totally agree about the distractions. I think I had too many while I read and it affected the flow for me.

    • Jennifer Smeth

      Thanks, Jennine! I agree it is hard to sum up chunksters but I think you did an excellent job too!

  2. Shannon @ River City Reading

    You summed up so much of how I felt reading this book. Every time I read another review I want to pick it up again…something tells me it’s going to be one of those books I come back to several times in my life. Wonderful review!

    • Jennifer Smeth

      Thank you Shannon! That means a lot especially since I know how dearly you hold this book to your heart!

  3. Ciska (@_Ciska_)

    I stopped reading after “This is one of those books. It’s a book that affirmed my faith in literature and astonished me with its power, poise and brilliance. Tartt may actually have written one of the greatest books I’ve ever read and I don’t say that light”

    I still have this book on my night stand and do not read full reviews before I read a book myself but this was enough for me to keep it close to the top to be read soon!! thanks for the distraction warning :D

  4. Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    This book is already staring at me from my shelves, and then you write this, “This is one of those books. It’s a book that affirmed my faith in literature and astonished me with its power, poise and brilliance. Tartt may actually have written one of the greatest books I’ve ever read and I don’t say that lightly.”

    HOW CAN I RESIST! Gonna finish up my current chunksters and jump on this one.

    • Jennifer Smeth

      Simple: you cannot resist the power of this chunkster! It will suck you in! It’s THAT good!

  5. Lisamarie

    The cover caught my eye awhile back. Great review… this is going on my TBR list.

  6. DoingDewey

    I almost never read even books I’m very excited about close to their release date unless I get an ARC. Part of the reason is, as you said, life. It can be so hard to make room for another book in your reading schedule! But also, I get most of my books at the library, so there are often lines.

    This is definitely a book I’m excited to get to and your review has only made me more hopeful that it will be awesome. Thanks for the great review!

    • Jennifer Smeth

      I try to — but mostly because the “buzz” can sometimes turn me off. There’s one right now that I have that has so much buzz I’m hesitant to read even though I know I’ll love it.

  7. Adria J. Cimino

    This book sounds amazing and now I know I have to read it! Thanks for the great review. Tartt was in town this week, visiting a local bookstore and I didn’t know until it was too late… grr!!

  8. Rosa Silva

    Great review! I’ve been wanting to read the Goldfinch for a while and now after reading your review I’m sure it will be an amazing reading.

  9. Rory

    I’ve been putting off reading this because of the length as well. I still can’t foresee a time anywhere in the near future where I’ll be able to fit in 800 pages, but hopefully it’s soon!

    • Jennifer Smeth

      I don’t think you should put it off much longer :). Once you get into the book it actually reads pretty quickly.

  10. Anita

    This will likely be my first “chunkster” of 2014, I have it in ebook, so my arms will make it…LOL. Yes the page count overwhelms me….I can hardly even listen to what it’s about…LOL. I’ve read so many wonderful reviews…I’ve got to read it.

  11. Allison @ The Book Wheel

    So, this one has been on my list for a while (since it came out) and this is, by far, the best review I’ve read and has convinced me to pick it up a bit sooner. Like you, I put it off because life was busy but I don’t want to wait anymore!

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