The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

the_goldfinch
It’s a big image for a big book.

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.

2 thoughts on “The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

  1. I’m a third of the way through The Goldfinch and can’t put it down. Notably, I just finished another big book (almost 600 pages) and, without naming it, it was tedious, boring and dragged on and on. I should have abandoned it but I loved the author’s first book so kept thinking it would get better (it didn’t. At all). So for that reason, I was a bit reluctant to start The Goldfinch – did I have the stamina? I needn’t have worried, it’s compelling reading. I am wondering if Tartt can keep up the pace (and it sounds like she doesn’t quite from your review Jenny) but either way, I’m thoroughly absorbed in the story now.

    1. I thought I had an idea of the 600 pager you were talking about but no, went and checked my one that is dragging and boring, and that was many more pages. Look forward to hearing what you think of the whole when you’ve finished Goldfinch!

      Thanks for the comment.

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