I loved everything about The Goldfinch and for me it was the best read of last year and possibly for several years. There were only two things that bugged me. The first was disappointing, the second more of an irritation.
1. Boris’s voice wasn’t very good. For someone who was ‘fluent enough’ in English, and spoke with an accent (Australian, mixed with Russian and Ukrainian) and who occasionally demonstrated flawed speech, missing articles and pronouns, at other times there were too many pronoun/verb contractions and articles, both definite and indefinite. reminded me of Cate Blanchette’s Russian accent in a movie (was it Indiana Jones?) She so didn’t nail it and neither did Tartt with this character, which was a shame because I loved the character, thought he was pretty interesting and different.
2. It went a bit too long, or the pace slowed, towards the end, during the Amsterdam section. For some reason I noticed I wasn’t enjoying the reading whereas earlier I had no thoughts of going outside the bubble; I was in the story 100%.
Other than that, it was fantastic and I am considering re-reading it soon. Just have to finish The Luminaries (determined to finish it before seeing Eleanor Catton speak about it at the Perth Writers Festival), a re-read of The Little Friend (which is dragging a bit, I think I remember why I didn’t like it that much the first time I read it, more on that later) and Gideon Haigh’s book on abortion, The Racket.
I hadn’t seen the James Wood take-down of the book in October last year. If I had it wouldn’t have stopped me reading it but still, it’s pretty nasty and seems unfair. Like the person who wrote this response, I don’t agree with any of it really.