The Goldfinch [Book Review]

The Goldfinch [Book Review]
Hi there!
Title: The Goldfinch
Author: Donna Tartt
Publisher: Little, Brown

Published Date:  23rd September 2013
Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis: 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 combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while
plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and
art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and
self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Review: The
Goldfinch. Where do I start?
I read this book for my
2015 reading challenge and I am so glad for it. It’s a moving book with a main
character so realistic that I wouldn’t be surprised if I met him on the street
one day.
This book won the Pulitzer
Prize for 2014 and if you read it there will be no question as to why. This
book is truly a piece of literature and you can tell it simply from the writing
style. Her style is almost poetic and strings across the words so beautifully
that I wished I could inhale them. They were just that perfect. It was a
pleasure to read her mouth-watering descriptions and anywhere she described I
cold basically see in my mind.
I will say that this is a
mammoth of a book and very character driven. If you aren’t a character driven
reader and need a fast paced plot to keep you interested then I wouldn’t
recommend this book to you. I did love it, but I can understand how it wouldn’t
be for everyone.
The main character is
Theodore Decker and we see the span of his life from a teenager and child to an
adult. That’s quite a few years! He also has a very rough situation. His father
was into drinking and gambling and never treated them right, so he ran off and
left them. At the beginning of the book it is just him and his mother, and they
are getting by. One day they happen to go to a museum. While Theo is off
watching this intriguing girl and her father or possibly grandfather, his
mother goes into another room to look at a painting. And then it happens – an
explosion. Theodore finds himself alone in the midst of a terrorist attack.
From then on his life is
never the same. He ends up talking to the possible father/grandfather man he
saw earlier and is given a ring from him as he passes away. The man also keeps
going on about a painting which is in the art museum. Theo gets it for him, but
once he is gone he puts it in his bag and tries to find his way out of the
museum. That painting so happens to be The Goldfinch.
I never thought that I
would enjoy a book about paintings so much. I do like artwork and do admire it,
but it isn’t the subject of my choice. Although the painting is important in
the beginning and very much so in the end of the book, it isn’t so much in the
middle of it. There it is more focused on Theo’s father (who he has to live
with for some of the time.)
The characters were a big
part of what made this novel so wonderful for me. There’s Boris who is not
really a good guy, but not a bad guy either – he’s the grey area in between. In
some ways he is poison to Theo, and in others not so much. But he is a good
friend and I love how he takes Theo under his wing. I don’t like his character
too much as an adult, but people do change so I suppose that is fair enough.
There were times where I wasn’t even sure I liked Theo’s character too, but
that is how it is meant to be. Hobie is another character who is just a sweetheart.
He’s the good father that Theo never had, and is so wonderful. He’s the kind of
man I would love to have as an uncle or something.
There are so many
different topics and themes crossed in this book – drugs, drinking, artwork,
theft, marriage, love, family, heartbreak, gambling, pain… all of it in this
single book. Theo’s life story and the people he meets… they are so realistic.
The way Tartt has written this makes me wonder if she has experienced any of
this herself. I don’t think she has, but the way she has written this makes me
convinced that this has to be true somehow. There couldn’t be a more realistic
fiction anywhere out there.
As well as that, she gets
bonus points for some of the novel being set in the Netherlands! She describes the
place so wonderfully that it made me rethink how blessed I am to be here! I
usually forget that the Netherlands is a unique place and does have its own
culture just because of the years I have been here. But she made me appreciate
this country again with the glorious way she described it.
I didn’t want the ending
to come, but it was perfect for the novel.
Just read it please!

Gif Summary:
Quotes: “the
magnetic pull of beauty – a stillness so powerful that the molecules realigned
themselves around her.”
“Melting with the sorrow
and loveliness, a starry ache that lifted me up above the wind swept city like
a kite: my head in the rainclouds, my heart in the sky.
“So the space where I
exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank I hope I die in, is
exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created
something sublime.”
Links: Goodreads and Amazon!
Olivia’s Question: Which
book have you read where you wish the characters were real?

Olivia-Savannah x

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