Saturday, 2 November 2013

Beginning The Goldfinch


 I do like a bit of superior chicklit and Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones-Mad About The Boy certainly had its moments and made me laugh a few times but I have to say I was yearning to read something a bit more substantial by the time I got to the end.

My big autumn read is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  As I have not read The Secret History or The Little Friend I have no preconceptions about this writer but John Mullan's Ten Reasons why we love Donna Tartt's The Secret History from The Guardian a couple of weeks ago makes it sound very enticing.  I do like novels set in academia.

I'm about two hundred page in and it's very promising.  I liked the first chapter which is set in Amsterdam:
Outside, all was activity and cheer.  It was Christmas, lights twinkling on the canal bridges at night; red-cheeked dames et heren, scarves flying in the icy wind, clattered down the cobblestones with Christmas trees lashed to the backs of their bicycles.  In the afternoons, an amateur band played Christmas carols that hung tinny and fragile in the winter air. Donna Tartt The Goldfinch
I also loved the descriptions of Dutch paintings in a New York art gallery with 'peeled lemons, with the rind slightly hardened at the knife's edge, the greenish shadow of a patch of mold.'  The book has been described as Dickensian in some reviews and its central character has been likened to Holden Caulfield from J D Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in others.  I'll reserve judgement until I've read it  and at over 700 pages I may be a while!

Anybody read The Secret History?

15 comments:

Cornflower said...

Yes, I loved The Secret History!

Audrey said...

I haven't read her at all, but it's all very intriguing! Will look forward to your thoughts.

Cath said...

The Secret History was excellent. Very good writing etc. I shall await your verdict on The Goldfinch - I've seen quite a lot of mentions of it and it sounds rather good. As you know, I've discovered Lord Peter Wimsey at last.

Bellezza said...

I am a solidly crazy about The Secret History, have read it several Ike's, in fact. Now I have to look at the article you linked to to see if his reasons "support" mine. :) I'm itching to get my hands on his one, and I suspect I win be able to wai for Christmas gift giving.

I know what you mean about enjoying a book for the laughter and entertainment, it needing something more substantial afterward.

JoAnn said...

I just loved The Secret History and plan on reading The Goldfinch sometime this winter. Will look forward to your final thoughts.

Nadia said...

I love chick lit books, too (and was excited to read the new Fielding, but put it off after reading that she killed off Mark Darcy). Anyhow, I can definitely understand that after reading something light and fun, you need something substantial - I'm the same way ;) I've yet to read anything by Tartt, but sounds like I need to change that. The Goldfinch sounds terrific! I'll definitely be adding it to my TBR sooner rather than later. Enjoy the book!

stujallen said...

Look forward to your thoughts I loved secret history and this one with its mutiple settings does appeal ,all the best stu

JudyMac said...

Normally, a voluminous book does not put me off, say 400-500 pages, but I must say 700 pages does sound a bit much. Perhaps you can give us a recap (without giving the story away). :-) Currently, I'm much more interested in getting my hands on a copy of "The Exiles Return" written by Elizabeth de Waal and Edmund de Waal, about the family who owned "The Hare With Amber Eyes"--a wonderful book.

Rebecca H. said...

I liked although I didn't love The Secret History. It was an enjoyable read, but it didn't bowl me over. I'm still tempted to pick this one up, though, if only because it's fun to lose myself in a long novel, and she does tell a story well. I'm glad you are enjoying it so far.

Penny O'Neill said...

I'm intrigued - and hope to see a review when you've finished. You always compel me to look at books I might not otherwise read.

cathy at potterjotter said...

I haven't read any of hers but I love that little excerpt you included - it conjoured up warmth and cosiness on a horrid grey day! xCathy

Lilac In May said...

I loved The Secret History, this sounds wonderful, must add to my wish list. Have you read Loving Frank by Nancy Horan? It is well written and very thought provoking.

Sunday Taylor said...

I am so glad you wrote about this book as it is on my list of books to be read. I also have not read her before, but have heard such glowing things about her new book, that I can't wait to begin it. I loved the quote you featured.

Vintage Reading said...

Karen, I'm reading it now - wonderful novel. Can't believe I've not discovered Donna Tartt before.

Audrey, The Goldfinch is dark but wonderfully written.

Cathy, I'd marry him!

Bellezza at last I understand why Tartt has such a devoted following. I'm reading The Secret History now and it is wonderful.

JoAnn, can't believe everyone's read Donna Tartt before me!

Nadia, yes I like good chicklit, too. Sophie Kinsella writes enjoyable novels - have you read her Shopaholic series?

Stu, yes it moves from Amsterdam to New York and Las Vegas and a road trip across America.

Judy Mac, yes the De Waal is on my tbr list, too. I don't mind 700 well-written pages it's when they digress and ramble I start to lose interest!

Rebecca, I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to read The Secret History - it's very dark and at some points I stop smoking and taking drugs for a couple of days - just for a change!

Penny, I found The Goldfinch pretty much perfect. Not everyone's cup of tea, though. The Sunday Times had an indifferent review.

Cathy, the writing is sublime, what a gift to write like that.

Lilac, no will check out the Nancy Horan, always like recommendations from favourite bloggers!

Sunday, it's dark but wonderful, hope you like it!

PattisPages said...

I wasn't crazy about The Secret History, but I have The Goldfinch on my Kindle. I'm looking forward to reading it when I have a big block of time.