BOOK REVIEW: The Goldfinch – by Donna Tartt

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Title: The Goldfinch
Author: Donna Tartt
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
First published: October 22nd 2013
Finished reading: August 31st 2015
Pages: 771
Rating 3qqq

“And as much as I’d like to believe there’s a truth beyond illusion, I’ve come to believe that there’s no truth beyond illusion. Because, between ‘reality’ on the one hand, and the point where the mind strikes reality, there’s a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.”

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I’ve had a copy of The Goldfinch on my TBR shelf pretty much ever since it came out, but somehow I have been a bit hesitant to actually start reading it. It’s quite a big read and although I normally don’t mind those, I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the slow pace (especially in the beginning). I will have to agree with those complaints. There is no doubt that The Goldfinch is a very well written novel and I enjoyed Donna Tartt‘s prose in general. But the mere fact that it took me almost two months to actually finish the novel and I was able to finish no less than 44! other novels while I was ‘not’ reading this one says a lot about The Goldfinch… The story itself is very interesting and I liked the idea of the journey of both the main character and the painting, but the pace was so slow that it took me a hard time to stay focused. I have the feeling that I would have liked the novel a lot better if it would have been at least 200 pages shorter. Sure, that way it loses some of its literary value, but it would be way more pleasant to read. Would I recommend this one? If you like literary fiction, love art and don’t mind a big book with a slow pace, The Goldfinch is without doubt an interesting read.

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Theo Decker survives an explosion in a New York museum and a valuable painting comes into his possession. His mother didn’t survive the accident and his father had abandoned them some time before, so Theo finds him without a real home. He is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend and is having difficulties adapting to this new strange life without his mother. The only thing that reminds him of her is the small captivating painting of a goldfinch; a painting the whole world has been looking for ever since the explosion. The goldfinch travels with Theo throughout the years and brings him to different cities, adventures and even countries. As an adult, the painting has become dangerous and is his actions all those years ago came back to haunt him…

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The Goldfinch is without doubt a beautifully written novel and I can understand why it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Still, the pace was so slow in the beginning that it is very hard to stay focused and continue reading until the pace finally picks up. The last part set in Amsterdam is without doubt the part with the most action in it, and I really enjoyed the many cultural references. It made me crave some of the local food; boy do I miss zuurkool! The prose is very well written and I found many inspiring quotes while I was reading. That said, I don’t think The Goldfinch is a read for everyone. If you have the time and don’t mind the effort, it can be an interesting read though.

WWW Wednesdays #55 – September 2nd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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After finally finishing The Goldfinch two days ago, I’ve started two new reads. The first is a travel memoir: Five Weeks In The Amazon by Sean Michael Hayes. I will be reading various travel themed book within the next three weeks to really get in the travel mood for my backpacking trip… This one is interesting because I’ve been in Peru twice myself, although I’ve never actually visited the Amazon. I’ve also started reading Legend by Marie Lu the other day, a series I have been wanting to read for ages now. So far I’m loving it!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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This time I’ve ‘only’ finished three books since my last WWW, mostly because it took me a long time to actually finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I’m glad I did though! It sure is a very well written book, but the pace is really slow and it took me ages to finish it. I’ve also read The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton, a very entertaining and fast read even though I had some minor problems with the characters and plot. The last one on the list is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. As I already feared, this one turns out to be yet another overhyped book. It’s not a bad story and I like the fact that it has an unreliable narrator, but like with Gone Girl I’m not sure it’s actually worth the hype.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer and I Was Here by Gayle Forman is still my newest TBR jar pick. I also want to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can complete The Maze Runner series…

WWW Wednesdays #54 – August 26th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins the other day and so far I’m really enjoying it. Fingers crossed that it will live up to the hype! I’ve also decided that I want to finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before the end of the month, so I will try to dedicate more time to it. Hopefully I will be able to finish it before my next WWW post!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

Partly thanks to the Bout Of Books read-a-thon last week I was able to finish no less than NINE books. I guess this month is going to be a new record! I’m seriously behind on my reviews though, so I will have to start writing them soon before I start mixing up the different plots and characters…
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The first one on the list is Fairest by Marissa Meyer. Not as good as the main series, but it was interesting to learn more about how Levana became the person she is in the series. The prose was solid as always.
I continued with My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, and it was just as good as I was hoping for. Interesting characters, prose, plot… And the author described depression really well.
I read The Death Cure by James Dashner next and wasn’t impressed. I felt it lacked a proper plot and I wasn’t a fan of the ending… Definitely my least favorite book of the series so far.
Joyland by Stephen King was good: I loved the 1973 carnival setting and the prose was interesting as always. I didn’t see the ending coming for sure!
The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith was my TBR jar pick last week and unfortunately not as good as I thought it would be… Some of  the scenes just were too cheesy for me.
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Next up is Me And Earl And The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I’m still not sure what to think of it; it’s highly original, but I’m not sure the humor didn’t go too far at points or if I actually liked some of the main characters.
I then couldn’t wait any longer and read Never Never Part Two by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher.  This part was even better than the first and unfortunately ended with a big cliffhanger as well.
Anatomy Of A Misfit by Andrea Portes wasn’t that great. I didn’t like most characters or the fact that it has a love triangle and the ending felt forced.
Last up is All Fall Down by Ally Carter, a read I have been looking forward to and even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I ended up really enjoying it! The ending is a mayor cliffhanger though; I need the sequel!!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can finish the series…Hopefully I will like it better than The Death Cure. I have been wanting to read Legend by Marie Lu for ages, so hopefully I will be able to finally start that series… And I have been wanting to read None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio for a long time as well. The last one on this list is my newest TBR jar pick: I Was Here by Gayle Forman. This one was already on my Bout Of Books TBR, so I will probably get to it soon.

WWW Wednesdays #53 – August 19th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I just started The Death Cure by James Dashner yesterday and I’m not too far into the story yet. I’m not sure what to think of it, but at least I will be closer to finishing one more series… I’m about halfway with Fairest by Marissa Meyer and I still stand by my comment that it’s not as good as the main series. Levana just isn’t a very likeable character! I made some progress with The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before the read-a-thon started, but I’ve temporarily put it on hold until next Monday.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Wait a minute; I’ve read EIGHT books since last WWW?! I checked twice, but apparently I’ve been reading like a monster for the last seven days haha.
The first book I’ve read is Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas; such a great read and the ending seriously messed with my mind!
I’ve had some start up problems with The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh; it took me a while to get used to the many foreign names and characters but I enjoyed it afterwards.
I had no such luck with Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I love her YA fiction, but I was seriously disappointed by Landline.
I then finally picked up The Kings Of Cool by Don Winslow, a TBR jar pick I have been posponing for the last I-don’t-know-how-many weeks. It was actually really good and I regret now waiting so long!
I’ve also read The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, a book that has been on my TBR for ages and I enjoyed it just as much as I’ve hoped. I really need to get a copy of the sequels soon though!
I continued with Rarity From The Hollow by Robert Eggleton, an ARC I ended up enjoying despite some problems I had with the plot, characters and prose.
I then read Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher, a quite short and entertaining read that ends with a very painful cliffhanger! I will have to read part two soon and cross my fingers it won’t have such a big cliffhanger as the first…
The last book I finished was The Martian by Andy Weir, by far one of the best reads so far this month. The main character, plot, prose… It really shows why this book was picked as one of the Goodreads Choice winners.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can finish yet another series… Although it will probably depend on how much I enjoy The Death Cure. I’m also looking forward to both My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga and The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. I guess it will depend on my mood which one I decide to read first. The last one on this list is my new TBR jar pick: The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith. I’m normally not a big fan of romance, but this title has been recommended to me various times so I will give it a try very soon.

WWW Wednesdays #52 – August 12th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below. This week I’m trying out a slightly different format! 😀

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

currentreadsaugust12th2015

I started Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas on a whim yesterday because I wasn’t happy with my other current reads. So far I’m definitely enjoying it better than the rest of the titles… It’s actually the second time I’ve started The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, and somehow I cannot seem to get a proper feel for the story. It’s not that I don’t like it, so maybe I’m just not in the mood for it right now. I’ve also started The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages. I’m not sure what to think of the prose, but the plot is interesting so far. And as far as The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt goes… No progress at all this week. I really have to stop starting new books and read at least a few chapters! Currently I’ve only read about a third and I really want to finish it this month.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

recentreadsaugust12th2015 I managed to read no less than 6! books since my last WWW post. I guess the fact that it has been raining for about every day means I have been having a lot of free time to read…
I first finished Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a ‘heavy’ read with a very original dialogue between the main character and the girl on the tapes.
I then couldn’t resist any longer and read Blood Of My Blood by Barry Lyga. It’s the third book of the Jasper Dent series and I absolutely loved it! So many plot twists, awesome characters and brilliant prose! Barry Lyga is definitely one of my new favorite authors.
I started Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly on a whim afterwards, looking for a light read. I was mostly disappointed by it; boring characters, mediocre prose and a not so credible plot.
Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan was a lot better, although I have a feeling I would have enjoyed it even better during the Holiday season. But since it was a book club read, I didn’t have much choice picking the date. 😉
I’ve also read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Finally! I’ve had this one on my TBR for ages… I enjoyed this read, especially the prose, but not as much as some others might have.
The last book I’ve managed to finish this week is You Are My Sunshine by Roberta Kagan. I wanted a proper historical fiction read after being disappointed by Masquerade a while back, but I wasn’t a fan of this novel either. Bland characters, a weak plot and the prose was not so great either. Such a shame, because I normally love WWII historical fiction!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have Rarity From The Hollow, an ARC sent by the author Robert Eggleton, next on the list to read as soon as I finish my current reads. I also want to try and read The Death Cure by James Dashner so I can finish one more series (although I have a copy of The Kill Order as well)… And I’m looking forward to start The Martian by Andy Weir soon since I’ve heard great things about it. And I REALLY should read The Kings Of Cool by Don Winslow soon, because it was my TBR jar pick ages ago and I still haven’t picked it up…

WWW Wednesdays #51 – August 5th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

thegoldfinchthirteenreasonswhyAlmost no progress with The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt this week. I guess I just haven’t been feeling like reading it… It’s very well written, but the slow pace is a huge turn off. I’ve also started Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and this read is way more interesting if you ask me. It’s quite a heavy read, but very well written and I will probably end up finishing it either today or tomorrow.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

cressforeverI finished reading Forever by Maggie Stiefvater the other day and I cannot say I was impressed. At least it means I have finally finished another series! I know there is a fourth book, Sinner, but technically that one doesn’t belong to the trilogy and I don’t think I will buy/read it any time soon. I’ve also finished Cress by Marissa Meyer and I absolutely loved it. The wait for Winter will be so long! I NEED to know what happens next!!!

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

rarityfromthehollowdashandlilysbookofdareNext I will probably either read Rarity From The Hollow, an ARC sent by the author Robert Eggleton, or Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The second is for The Book Club For Opinionated Hufflepuffs… I’m not sure that one will be for me, but I will give it a try anyway.

WWW Wednesdays #50 – July 29th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

thegoldfinchmissperegrineshomeforpeculiarchildrenI’m still slowly making progress on The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I can’t deny it is a very well written novel, but the pace is quite slow and it’s hard to keep my attention for long. I guess that’s why I have been reading so many books in between… Currently it’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. So far I’m really enjoying this read, so I will probably finish it first before trying to pick up The Goldfinch again.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

thescorchtrialsmasqueradeI finished reading Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier the other day and wasn’t overly impressed by it. I guess that at least I was able to cross off another era for the When Are You Reading? challenge… I’ve also finished The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. Like with The Maze Runner, the slang really bothered me during the whole story. The plot is slightly better than the first one, but it still wasn’t like I really enjoyed this read.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

thirteenreasonswhycressI’m having a really hard time deciding what to read next! The Kings Of Cool by Don Winslow is still on the radar, but I haven’t been in the mood for it. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher sounds like a ‘heavy’ read I’m not sure I want to read after finishing my current reads… So I might just give in and read Cress so I can finally continue Marissa Meyer‘s series. 😀