Novel: The Goldfinch
Author: Donna Tartt
Source: OC Public Library
The audiobook is by Blackstone Audio Inc. and the narrator is David Pittu. He is spectacular. I love his narration. He uses different tone and pitch for each character and never misses to bring out their uniqueness. The dull voice of Andy or the Russian accent of Boris or the heavy and old sound of Hobie, each expressed perfectly. The audiobook gets a 5/5 from me. The second audiobook I loved after the audiobook of “A Man Called Ove“.
The tale opens with a terrorist strike on a museum where our chief actor is visiting with his mother. While browsing through the paintings he sees Pippa for the first time. He is instantly mesmerized with Pippa. Therefore he follows Pippa and her guardian Welty rather than agreeing with his mother to another gallery. Suddenly a bomb explodes and there is debris flying, one of which hits him. After the attack when he gains consciousness, he finds himself alone with Welty. Welty who is hit badly keeps mumbling incoherently. Welty implores him to save the painting. In his haze, he retrieves the painting “The Goldfinch” and takes it with him.
His mother dies in the attack, and the child services place him momentarily with his classmate Andy’s family. He wallows in his loss for the subsequent several days. Along with sorrow, fear and anxiety rule him courtesy of the Goldfinch. The painting is one of the stolen items from the museum and authorities are looking for it. He is even questioned by officials. But he doesn’t return the Goldfinch to them.
He meets with Hobie, Welty’s partner intending to leave the Goldfinch with him. But gets side–tracked on Pippa. He continues his visit to Pippa. Until she is sent to her aunt.
Soon Theo’s father gets his custody. So he has to move to Las Vegas to live with his father. The following section of the story highlights Theo’s friendship with Boris and his venture into the world of drugs and alcohol. The painting stays with him and he has no plans of returning it now.
After his father‘s death, he moves back to New York and moves in with Hobie. The painting is now in a safety vault he owns. He completes his education and takes over the sales department of Hobie’s shop. Here, he becomes a conman. Now he deceives people into paying more for furniture which costs less. Everything goes on smoothly until a man comes inquiring for “The Goldfinch”.
The GoldFinch’s audiobook took a long time to finish (2 months!). Definitely, a long book. But the author’s excellent narration and sequence of twists keep up the pace which in turn keeps you motivated to read the next chapter. That’s the only reason I gave it 4 stars.
Sometimes I felt I am listening to a biography. The sole exception, Theo, our main character is not an ideal person with a happy and successful life. Yes, it is a sad story from the beginning. One which highlights the outcomes and reasons of every bad decision we can make. The narrative also demonstrates our determination to stay on that bad path even when there are plenty of chances to move to the right one.
Theo’s first bad decision is stealing the painting from the museum. Not returning it to authorities on so many occasions after that is the next bad decision. This streak of bad decisions continues with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Later he cheats people who come to buy furniture from him and lastly enters the art smuggler’s industry. Throughout the story, we witness Theo’s futile attempts to give up drugs, alcohol and the painting.
The elaborate account of furniture and Hobie’s carpentry skills is overwhelming and distracting. They merely show off the excellent writing skills of the author. But, they also give a pleasant backdrop to the terrible series of incidents in Theo’s life.
Overall, I am glad for picking up this novel and sticking till the end. I suggest the book to readers with a strong heart and patience to read a long book.
My Favorite Quotes
“What if — is more complicated than that? What if maybe opposite is true as well? Because, if bad can sometimes come from good actions—? where does it ever say, anywhere, that only bad can come from bad actions? Maybe sometimes — the wrong way is the right way? You can take the wrong path and it still comes out where you want to be? Or, spin it another way, sometimes you can do everything wrong and it still turns out to be right?”
― Donna Tartt,
“Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?”
― Donna Tartt,
“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life”
― Donna Tartt,
“We can’t choose what we want and don’t want and that’s the hard lonely truth. Sometimes we want what we want even if we know it’s going to kill us. We can’t escape who we are.”
― Donna Tartt,
Have you read this book? What did you feel after reading it? Share your thought in the comments below. Thanks for coming here. Happy Reading!