#BookBeginnings The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!



The Goldfinch* by Donna Tartt

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

The blurb:  Thirteen-year-old Theo Decker survives the accident that kills his mother. Because his father left him, the family of a friend takes Theo in. Struggling with his grief and the changes that have occurred, the teenager clings to a small painting that reminds him of his mother. But there’s more to the painting than anyone suspects.

The Goldfinch took Donna Tartt a decade to write. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013.

Public domain image from Wikimedia

First Sentence:

While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years. I’d been shut up in my hotel for more than a week, afraid to telephone anyone or go out; and my heart scrambled and floundered at even the most innocent noises:  elevator, rattle of the minibar cart, even church clocks tolling the hour, de Westertoren, Krijtberg, a dark edge to the clangor, an inwrought fairy-tale sense of doom.


Apparently the narrator is an older Theo, not the teenager.

I included two sentences to give a feel of the complexity of the writing. No wonder the book is 771 pages long.

 Have you read The Goldfinch or any other of Donna Tartt’s novels? What do you think?

The goldfinch in the painting is the European goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis. Here’s a short video about the famous painting behind the novel’s  title:



  1. Gilion Dumas

    Thanks for sharing the opening sentences in Book Beginnings!

    I loved The Goldfinch — for awhile. Then I ended up not liking it at all. I just could not stand Theo by the end. Could not stand him. Wish I had not spent so many good hours of my life with him.

    But it won the Pulitzer Prize and I’m a completist when it comes to reading winners of the Pulitzer Prize, so I read it.

    • Roberta

      We’ve read a couple of Pulitzer Prize winners for this challenge and so far they haven’t met expectations. Hopefully third time is the charm.

  2. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I’ve been very curious about The Goldfinch, and probably the only thing holding me back has been the length of the book. I’ll be watching for your review. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

    • Roberta

      Hopefully Karen and I can get our reviews done in the two week window. This one will be a challenge, I’m afraid.

  3. Reese

    I haven’t read The Goldfinch, but I did read The Secret History of hers. Even though that one was a mystery set in a classics department–something that should have appealed to me–I’m afraid I didn’t much like it.

    But hopefully I’m wrong about this one! I hope you enjoy it.

    • Roberta

      This one has a mystery aspect as well. I’m considering the audio book, because I’ve heard suggestions the poetic aspects of the language comes through better that way.

  4. Sassy Brit @ Alternative-Read.com

    Hi Roberta!

    I must admit I’ve not read this, but it now looks better than I thought it did at the time! haha!

    I’m featuring my Goodreads Group Read of the month: : http://bit.ly/2F17A7s A Snowflake’s Chance in Hell.

  5. Kathy Martin

    Sounds interesting but so long. This week I’m reading The English Wife by Lauren Willig. Happy reading!

    • Roberta

      The English Wife looks very good.

  6. Ashley S.

    This sounds like an intriguing read. Hope you enjoy it!

  7. Anne@Headfullofbooks

    I loved, loved, loved the Goldfinch. The twisted lives of people when a tragedy changes the trajectory of their lives…I love that exploration. Theo was such a flawed character, for good reason. My book club members thought the middle bit dragged a bit (Las Vegas) but I was fascinated by the concept of boys parenting themselves, essentially, and where that would lead the story.

    I am read nonfiction this week: Dreaming the Beatles

  8. Lisbeth @ The Content Reader

    I loved her book “The Secret History” and wanted to read this for a long time. I think I have it downloaded on my ipad. The mixed reviews and the length is what has stopped me. Maybe I should try it out for 2018!

    • Roberta

      You should definitely give it a go. I am surprised how fast it is going for me. Very easy to read.

  9. Literary Feline

    I haven’t read this or any of Tartt’s books before, but I have this one on my TBR shelf to read. I do like the sound of this one and will definitely read it at some point. I hope you are enjoying it! I hope you have a great week!

  10. Lauren @ Always Me

    I’ve been told that I absolutely need to try this novel! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren @ Always Me

    • Roberta

      It is an outstanding example of literary fiction.

      If you read it, be sure to let us know what you think.

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