The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt. Little, Brown, $30 (784p) ISBN 978-0-316-05543-7
Donna Tartt’s latest novel clocks in at an unwieldy 784 pages. The story begins with an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum that kills narrator Theo Decker’s beloved mother and results in his unlikely possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch. Shootouts, gangsters, pillowcases, storage lockers, and the black market for art all play parts in the ensuing life of the painting in Theo’s care. With the same flair for suspense that made The Secret History (1992) such a masterpiece, The Goldfinch features the pulp of a typical bildungsroman—Theo’s dissolution into teenage delinquency and climb back out, his passionate friendship with the very funny Boris, his obsession with Pippa (a girl he first encounters minutes before the explosion)—but the painting is the novel’s secret heart. Theo’s fate hinges on the painting, and both take on depth as it steers Theo’s life. Some sentences are clunky (“suddenly” and “meanwhile” abound), metaphors are repetitive (Theo’s mother is compared to birds three times in 10 pages), and plot points are overly coincidental (as if inspired by TV), but 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. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Oct. 22)
Reviewed on: 07/29/2013
Release date: 10/22/2013
Show other formats
Prebound-Glued - 784 pages - 978-0-606-35314-4
Hardcover - 784 pages - 978-1-4055-2951-8
Hardcover - 784 pages - 978-1-4087-0495-0
Hardcover - 771 pages - 978-1-4087-0494-3
Hardcover - 784 pages - 978-1-4087-0510-0
Hardcover - 978-1-4055-3076-7
Hardcover - 978-0-316-24237-0
Hardcover - 864 pages - 978-0-349-13963-0
Hardcover - 25 pages - 978-0-85735-861-5
Compact Disc - 26 pages - 978-1-60024-711-8
Hardcover - 1248 pages - 978-0-316-23987-5
Book - 978-1-4789-5273-2
Paperback - 784 pages - 978-0-316-05544-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-24867-9
Hardcover - 489 pages - 978-0-316-24862-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-8047-6
MP3 CD - 3 pages - 978-1-4789-8048-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-75908-3
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.