Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Goldfinch

The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sum it up in a sentence (or two): The expansive tale of one boy (Theo Decker) and how his life changes in one afternoon. Also the tale of a small, but prized, painting.

First thoughts: The Goldfinch was so long and detailed. Not boring, exactly, but I wasn't sure of the significance of all the detail as I read. The marathon covers most of Theo's life, except when it skips past eight years randomly. It kept me interested, and I like the idea of delving deep into one person's experience.

Favorite quotes:
"None of us is ever find enough kindness in the world, do we?" - Boris, p282

"To understand the world at all, sometimes you could only focus on a tiny bit of it, look very hard at what was close to hand and make it stand in for the whole..." - p603

"If you can't plan it out ahead of time, you'll just have to work it out as you go along." - p694

"Can't good come around sometimes through some strange back doors?" - Hobie, p758

"Maybe even if we're not always so glad to be here, it's our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open." - p771

Favorite characters: Hobie, Theo, his mom, Xandra (not as a human being, just as an interesting character), NOT Boris. (I really didn't like him; he cost this book at least one star.)

Recommended for: people embarking on long trips, book clubs with patience, art dealers, black market mavens.

Final thoughts: At the end we learn why all the detail, sort of - [SPOILERISH] the book is all Theo's journal/thoughts since his mom died. I appreciate the width/depth, but man. So long. Some parts could have been condensed/streamlined. It sagged in the early and late middle parts, but picks back up at the end - the ending itself redeems the book from many of its sins.

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