The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt


WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

"The Goldfinch

 is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind....Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction."--Stephen King, 

The New York Times Book Review

Theo Decker, a 13-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 longing for his mother, he clings to the 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 mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.




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  • Beverly

    I keep thinking about some of the very insightful comments from others - about trauma, about the bird being chained to it's post like we are chained to our fates, how we come to deceive ourselves, and I think one of the keys in this book may be how the bird is perceived to view his own fate - the trauma of being chained his whole life - is the bird perceived to be self defeating or does the bird accept his fate and rise above it. In my view Theo can only rise above the fate of his trauma when he gives up the illusion that he is chained to the painting (the fate and trauma of losing his mother) and when he decides to turn himself in rather than destroy himself. Whether he has the actual painting or not for all those years, he is chained to the illusion that he has it and must hold onto it. He can evolve only when he accepts the trauma of his life, is willing to give up the painting and turn himself in for what he's done - to face it rather than destroy himself for it.

    1 · August 28, 2014

    • Peter

      Beverly, I like your theory and I am inclined to agree that this may have been the author's intention. The goldfinch of the title certainly must have a symbolic purpose and your notion is the best I've heard or read to date.

      August 28, 2014

    • Beverly

      Thanks! Also the painting itself is a survivor...it survived the explosion that killed the artist.

      August 28, 2014

  • Peter

    The book divided opinion pretty fiercely. I owe an apology to Laneda, Beverly, Christine, Suzee, Julie and Karsten, all of whom loved the book. In doing so they only joined the vast majority of literary critics, including those of NYT and the Washington Post. I definitely might have overdone my role as "provocateur" and might have been harsher about the book than I needed to be. I am sorry! Thankfully (for me), John, Charles, Tiff and Phyllis were not impressed by the book either and Melissa, Diane, Meera and Polly all had "mixed" views of the book. Funny really, I quite enjoyed reading the book.........

    August 27, 2014

    • Christine

      no need to apologize Peter. this is what book-clubs are about. No one should ever feel the need to apologize for giving their opinion or showing their passion about a book or author. I so far like it and understand it but as noted, i am a little over 50% of the book...still too far away to know how I will actually feel but its a page turner so I will continue. It was great seeing everyone and meeting the new folks! Hoping I can make it to next one.

      1 · August 28, 2014

    • Beverly

      I agree...no apology necessary. Very thought-provoking discussion. I enjoy the passion of ideas, whether or not they agree with mine.

      2 · August 28, 2014

  • Peter

    Great discussion from everybody. That's exactly why I belong to a book club - to hear different views passionately debated.

    August 27, 2014

  • Christine

    I don't think I will be able to finish the book before the meeting but will certainly be there.

    1 · August 27, 2014

  • Susan G.

    Sorry to miss this. Donna is a brilliant contemporary author. One of the few NY Bestsellers that deserves the designation.

    August 27, 2014

  • Christine

    Started this on the drive to Kansas and love it! So definitely going!

    1 · August 20, 2014

  • Laneda

    If you have a Kindle I recommend that you read Fabritius and The Goldfinch. It's an Amazon Kindle Single, so I don't know if it can be found anywhere else. It's by Deborah Davis, 79 pages. I read it just after I had finished the first chapter. It has really enhanced my appreciation of The Goldfinch. There are a couple of almost unbelievable coincidences between the novel and the real story of the artist and his painting The Goldfinch. Does anybody else think Donna Tartt's photo resembles the description of Theo's mother?
    .

    July 29, 2014

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