“I just finished The Goldfinch and I feel like I've been in a flop house with a junkie for 12 days....made me feel dirty and irritated at the depravity of the characters. So, I guess it was a good read because I was yelling at Theo telling him to get his act togetherVery depressing. I was glad when I finally closed the book. Very over rated I thought.
The Goldfinch was the saddest, most depressing book I have ever read. I mainly read for pleasure and entertainment but this book had neither. The writer went way overboard on the drug scenes and it makes me wonder about her knowledge of such a lifestyle.
Although well written, one of the most depressing books I have ever read. I couldn't wait for it to end!”The Critics:
NYTimes; Stephen King Pulitzer Prize for Fiction “The Goldfinch” is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind. I read it with that mixture of terror and excitement I feel watching a pitcher carry a no-hitter into the late innings. You keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but in the case of “The Goldfinch,” they never do. Like the best of Dickens (I will not be the last to make this comparison), the novel turns on mere happenstance\
While the plot of “The Goldfinch” keeps the reader on his toes with constant surprises, what makes the novel unique is Theo’s narrative voice. Permanently damaged and scarred by the explosion and the death of his mother, the voice of the traumatized youth and the cynical, self-involved adult is ingenuous and startling - Washington Times
In April it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the judges of which praised it as “a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.”
Its tone, language, and story belong in children’s literature,” wrote critic James Wood, in The New Yorker. He found a book stuffed with relentless, far-fetched plotting; cloying stock characters; and an overwrought message tacked on at the end as a plea for seriousness. “Tartt’s consoling message, blared in the book’s final pages, is that what will survive of us is great art, but this seems an anxious compensation, as if Tartt were unconsciously acknowledging that the 2013 ‘Goldfinch’ might not survive the way the 1654 ‘Goldfinch’ has.” Days after she was awarded the Pulitzer, Wood told Vanity Fair, “I think that the rapture with which this novel has been received is further proof of the infantilization of our literary culture: a world in which adults go around reading Harry Potter.”
In The New York Review of Books, novelist and critic Francine Prose wrote that, for all the frequent descriptions of the book as “Dickensian,” Tartt demonstrates little of Dickens’s remarkable powers of description and graceful language. She culled both what she considered lazy clichés (“Theo’s high school friend Tom’s cigarette is ‘only the tip of the iceberg.’ … The bomb site is a ‘madhouse’ ”) and passages that were “bombastic, overwritten, marred by baffling turns of phrase.” “Reading The Goldfinch,” Prose concluded, “I found myself wondering, ‘Doesn’t anyone care how something is written anymore?’ ” Across the pond, the highly regarded London Review of Books likened it to a “children’s book” for adults. London’s Sunday Times concluded that “no amount of straining for high-flown uplift can disguise the fact that The Goldfinch is a turkey.”
“A book like The Goldfinch doesn’t undo any clichés—it deals in them,” says Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review, perhaps the most prestigious literary journal in America. “It coats everything in a cozy patina of ‘literary’ gentility.” Who cares that Kakutani or King gave it the stamp of approval: “Nowadays, even The New York Times Book Review is afraid to say when a popular book is crap,” Stein says.
Yes. Well. There’s the challenge. Here in “flyover country” we know garbage when we see it and smell it. Its one thing, as Dickens did, to expose the cruel underside of society but conscience and morality in his novels offered redemption. This piece of garbage has none of that. For the author to propose a great work of art from the distant past as the beacon of hope, considering the low state of much of “modern art” today is silly at best and psycho-pop drivel at its worst. This book is not Dickensian. It’s a comic book for slumming adults. And I read it to the end hoping for something better. Stubborn me…..