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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
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 of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, 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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Time Period
  • Contemporary


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This book gives the reader a very thorough look at the dark underbelly of the fine art and antiquities world. It is a coming-of-age novel about young Theo Decker who loses his mother under very tragic circumstances at the age of 13. The book takes us on a very long journey from New York to Las Vegas, back to New York and as far afield as Amsterdam as we follow young Theo. He leads a rootless existence after the death of his mother, and he never really gets over the tragic loss. He makes a lot of tragic and catastrophic decisions, and in his search for acceptance, he also makes some questionable choices in friends. It's really hard to like Theo, and I found that I kept having to remind myself that Theo was a true lost boy after the death of his mother. The book is extremely moving and the glimpse that it gives us of the underworld of art and antiquities is very enlightening. The story revolves around Theo and a very famous little painting that he has inadvertently acquired. The painting becomes an obsession to Theo as he carries it around with him for most of his young life. Ms. Tratt paint extremely vivid and lifelike characters. Her writing is almost visceral and it's what kept me reading through the numerous pages. I found the end of the book was rather tedious and that it didn't sustain my interest as much as the rest of the book did - hence the 4 stars rather than 5 in my rating. The prose, the story premise, the characters are all exceptional in this mammoth novel. It is exceptional and therefore a worthy Pulitzer prize winner.
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