The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Finally finished listening to the audiobook. Though it took me about two weeks to get through, it felt more like two months.

I enjoyed some parts of the novel but was also annoyed with Tartt’s cultural ignorance throughout the story. It was cringeworthy at times. I feel like Tartt was trying to show how worldly and cultured she is by throwing in ethnic people but then she turns them into caricatures based on stereotypes. The more ridiculous the stereotype, the better for character development, right? Ugh.

Boris (if he’s Ukrainian, it should be spelled Borys btw) was a clown. Every time he entered the story, I had to roll my eyes. I’m thinking that Tartt has met maybe one Eastern European-American in her life, one that is third or fourth generation and has no clue what is actually going on in that part of the world and how the people act. Also, what the f*ck is this Bible school nonsense that Tartt seems to think Polish kids go to? They go to normal school where they learn normal subjects.

Then we have a moment when Mr Silver arrives. And in case you can’t tell from his last name that he’s Jewish, he announces it right away and throws out a few cultural references. You know, because ethnic people need to talk about their ethnicity to everyone within ear shot.

Also, Russian-Jews are not rare or an ‘oxymoron’ as Tartt seems to think (actually many prominent political figures, writers, poets, musicians etc in Russia were/are of Jewish descent).

Cinzia the maid offering to work for free when Mrs Decker can no longer afford her services? Seriously? If Mrs Decker were an elderly or sickly person that needed extra care, I could understand Cinzia offering to help when she can, but maid service for a woman that is physically capable to clean for herself…yeah.

All in all, despite my rant, I didn’t hate it. I was entertained for chunks of it (specifically the New York parts with Hobie).

The audiobook was performed by David Pittu. while his narration was kind of annoying and felt stunted at times, I have to commend him because he did a pretty good job dealing with Tartt’s long and descriptive sentences.

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2 thoughts on “The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

  1. Glad to see someone questioning Donna Tartt’s reputation. I haven’t read this one because I disliked The Secret History so much. She seems to be to be a prime example of a MFA in Creative Writing graduate: she can write, technically, but you can just see her doing it. And yes, she does try very hard to impress with the depth of her culture, and yes, her characters are often caricatures. But her marketing is first class!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting! I think you’re right on the nose about Tartt’s writing and her reputation exceeds her skill for sure. I hope it’ll be another 15 years until she comes out with her next book

      Liked by 1 person

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