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Thursday, March 6, 2014

THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt

At last.
I finished this book.
I can't tell you how many pages I read-- although of course I could look it up-- because I read it on my Kindle app.

I will say that it was long. Very long.

Or as Stephen King cautions: Don't drop it on your foot.

Not truly long in a bad way long.
Yes, I agree with MANY others who've said it needed tighter editing.
But reading it as an ebook meant I could speed through the draggy parts.

Pity the poor friends who listened to it. Every single word. Then I may have cried Foul!
My friends who listened mostly thought it was overwritten and under-edited.
I kind of agree but did love (or at least like a lot) so much of the book.

One of the best reviews I've seen comes from Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times book editor. Best of the year, she says!
Here's a bit of her review that I particularly agree with:

"Tartt's description of the blast's aftermath and of the night Theo spends alone in his family's apartment, frantically trying to find out what happened to his mother, is a shattering tour de force."

(Click here to read all that review. Go ahead and read it if you have finished The Goldfinch. Because if you're one who doesn't like to know a thing about a story in advance, there are some spoilers.)

I also adore this review from the New York Times, written by none other than STEPHEN KING.
Many parts make me smile, but especially this:
"To write a novel this large and dense is equivalent to sailing from America to Ireland in a rowboat, a job both lonely and exhausting."

 I was a Donna Tartt fan from her first book, which I totally enjoyed. The second, not so much, but I read it. And I eagerly awaited The Goldfinch. I really was taken by her narrator Theo's thoughts on what art means. I loved the scenes that sped along, the "museum scene" quoted above, for example.
(Right now I can't think of other examples. Maybe that means there weren't any...)

I so wanted to go to the Frick to see the exhibit. Alas, my travel plans were thwarted by the weather.
You can click here to go to the museum's site. Be sure to listen to the audio. Fascinating.

A few thoughts from friends who've read the book:

At several points just when I thought it was really slow and boring, something happened to engage my interest again.  And so it went as I read on my Kindle.  Then today I got to the end.  And while I wanted it to end in an engaging manner, instead it ended in a dull, boring, preachy manner.
People who complain about the fact that it is 770 pages obviously have never read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I never feel those are slow and boring, even though some are over 1000 pages.

And this, from a cyber reading buddy who listened:
I actually listened to it on audible - yes all 32 1/2 hours. 
It's been a month since I finished Goldfinch and it's still lingering in my mind.

From my writer friend who reads a lot. Thoughtfully reads.
I was so taken by Boris and have seen many comments that he will live on. 
I loved the many many sub climaxes, the sinister plunges & over all plotting. It did, suddenly, become a thriller.

So there you have it! Maybe more than you ever cared to know. Feel free to comment. I'd love to hear what others think. 

Read on!


Katie Anderson said...

I listened to the audio and ADORED it. I can't imagine having read it because, yes, it's dense. But with the audio, it really came alive. The voices were incredible—especially all of the Russian gangsters.

I don't think I could have read the whole thing but listening became like hearing from friends who I knew REALLY REALLY well.

Augusta Scattergood said...

A different take on listening to a long book. The Russian gangsters were voices I didn't hear so well when I read it. Thanks for sharing, Katie!