Friday, October 31, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse - The Goldfinch

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, whereby we get together and post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us by clicking on the pic to see the other participants.

http://armchairsquid.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-cephalopod-coffeehouse-october-2014.html




This month I'm going to talk about The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.



This third book by Tartt is told from the point of view of Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker whose mother is killed in an explosion at a Museum, resulting in his acquisition of a Dutch Masterwork called The Goldfinch, a ring from a dying man, and a lifelong obsession with Pippa, a girl he meets minutes before the explosion. Having been abandoned by his father he ends up - practically by chance - living with the family of a wealthy but geeky friend - mean older brother, typical younger siblings, the strangely cool mother, and the mentally ill but nice father. I think it was this part, when Theo first goes to live with this family, that was most poignant. The way Tartt describes how Theo misses his mother was heartbreaking and the limbo he lives in (more like a guest than anything else), serves to keep Theo apart from the family, and alone.

Then his awful father shows up out of the blue and takes Theo to Las Vegas where he meets Boris, and enough booze and drugs to help him forget. But of course, the painting is still with him, wrapped up tight and hidden in a pillowcase, a constant reminder of something beautiful as well as a source of supreme anxiety for Theo, who fears more than anything its discovery - and the consequences.

My thoughts about this book are perhaps best summed up by this excerpt from the Publishers Weekly review: "...there's a bewitching urgency to the narration that's impossible to resist. Theo is magnetic, perhaps because of his well-meaning criminality. The Goldfinch is a pleasure to read; with more economy to the brushstrokes, it might have been great."

Which was why I was 5 days late getting the book back to the library...

So. What are you reading? Have you read The Goldfinch, or any of Tartts other books? 



26 comments:

  1. Heard about this book, although not really my style of read. And it must be really hard to get a great review from Publishers Weekly.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a novel that goes in many directions at once, all filled with great imagination.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've heard good and bad on this one. I find it odd that the book, which is meant for adults, has such a young MC. Interesting...

    Thanks for your review!
    Veronica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well...he starts out young, but we follow him and the painting into his adulthood. And a lot of adult books have young protagonists - The Little Friend, also by Tartt had a young girl as its central character, and Room by Emma Donoghue is told from the point of view of a 5 yr old!

      Delete
  4. I couldn't participate this month because of Halloween but I'm definitely jumping back on next month. The Goldfinch sounds interesting. I've heard of that before somewhere...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so glad you reviewed this! I loved almost all of this book, perhaps the Boris sections most of all, but the ending really bothered me. It was so didactic. Like she had to explain everything she'd done so far. Authorial intrusion! Chop that bit out and it would have been great. I agree with your assessment via Publisher's Weekly. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think a lot could've been cut, especially Theo's big explanation at the end. But I still really liked it.

      Delete
  6. Sounds pretty good. I'll put it on my library list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make sure you have plenty of time to read it! I would've renewed but there was a waiting list.

      Delete
  7. I'm impressed you got through it. Thanks for the summary and the review! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a very good book, well-written, and I loved how the painting was at the center of everything.

      Delete
  8. I read it with very mixed feelings. Parts of it were excellent - butI think it would have benefited from a brutal edit, so I would agree with Publishers Weekly.
    And the ending? Not for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a lot of it was excellent and I stayed up later than intended on more than one night. But you're right about the brutal edit.

      Delete
  9. I haven't read anything by this author, but I have The Goldfinch on my Amazon wish list. I've heard many good and bad things about it. I want to decide for myself if it's great or long and boring.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yup, this one's the most reviewed book at the Coffeehouse. Mixed feelings seems to be the standard reaction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would give the book 3.5 - 4 stars. If it had been shorter, less wordy, I would've given it 5.

      Delete
    2. This is definitely more my wife's sort of book than mine and, surprisingly, she hasn't read it yet! I am looking for Christmas present ideas...

      Delete
  11. I read it earlier this year. Wasn't bewitched by it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was almost bewitched by it but the wordiness bogged the story down a bit.

      Delete
  12. No, I haven't read this book, but I've considered getting it. Not that I've seen all the mixed comments here, I'm not sure if I'll go for it or not.

    What am I reading? The final book in Stephen Tremp's sci-fi trilogy. Get this.Today, I broke my previous record for Goodreads giveaway wins in a single day. My record used to be three, but today, I won SIX! Woo hoo. I don't think I'll EVER run out of books to read...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely worth reading but it was longer than it needed. And yay for you wining all kinds of books!

      Delete
  13. This sounds a book I might enjoy reading so thanks to your review I will look out for it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have not read it, but I've heard of it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. A disgusting book in concept and execution...

    ReplyDelete
  16. I say many thanks to the father of the website admin I read this, because at this website I know a lot of information information that I did not know before his

    Obat Kaki Cantengan
    Obat Benjolan Di Miss V
    Pengobatan Autoimun Herbal

    ReplyDelete
  17. I say many thanks to the father of the website admin I read this, because at this website I know a lot of information information that I did not know before his

    Obat Kaki Cantengan
    Obat Benjolan Di Miss V
    Pengobatan Autoimun Herbal

    ReplyDelete

If you're interested in my blog I'm interested in your comments.