2015 Longlist

The Goldfinch



Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.



Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Bennington College. She is the author of the novels The Secret History and The Little Friend, which have been translated into thirty languages.

Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Bennington College. She is the author of the novels The Secret History and The Little Friend, which have been translated into thirty languages.

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In Donna Tartt’s sprawling and vibrant novel, young Theo Decker is forced to figure out how to live a life – how to find meaning in life – after the violent and entirely unexpected death of his mother leaves him permanently traumatized, bereft and haunted. In his grief-stricken state, Theo is drawn to the compensations offered by art, by its beauty and permanence, as a possible way of redeeming his own cataclysmic loss.

An extraordinary work of fiction smartly written, drenched in sensory detail, remarkable and powerful! A Bildungsroman about the crucial, timeless role of art. Fascinating characters in a beautifully written tragedy.

Rich, engrossing and heartbreaking – The Goldfinch is a huge novel that was impossible to put down and is deserving of the highest accolades.

The Goldfinch is one of those novels that stay with you. The characters are memorable and the stories within are engaging. Sorrow, loss, disaster, growth, love, art, angst and redemption are all present and work together to provide the reader with both insight and entertainment.

The Goldfinch is a classic coming of age tale, full of nuanced, sympathetic turns and amazing yet believable plot twists. By turns tragic, hilarious and thrilling, this may be one of the fastest 800-page reads ever.

Tales of a young boy, Theo Decker, whose mother is killed in an explosion and his possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch. His fate hangs on this masterpiece.

A masterpiece in the classic style of the Bildungsroman, brilliantly written.

This novel strikes a fine balance between literary fiction and page turner. It appeals to both those who love rich, poetic prose as well as the twists and turns of an adventure novel. Tartt manages to captivate her audience, immediately drawing them into the tragic, dark mystery she’s created, and takes them on a roller coaster ride to a satisfying conclusion.

With relentless precision and emotion, Tartt writes about one singular act of terrorism and the aftermath for a young teen in Manhattan. Theo’s life becomes one of beauty and obsession as he spends years dealing with his grief and stress, all tied to a sinister painting of a goldfinch.

A Dickensian story in both depth and scope, The Goldfinch is at once a fast-paced suspense tale and a literary tour de force, exploring the concepts of art, identity and the ultimate meaning of things. A pure gem of a novel.

A beautiful rendering of a young boy left suddenly motherless and the power of art to lift us out of our sorrows. Aided by a cast of Dickensian characters, he drifts from New York to Las Vegas to Amsterdam, trying to rebuild his life.

An international mystery, a family story, an art exploration – The Goldfinch is all that and more. Reading The Goldfinch is an immersive, brightly-colored, worthwhile experience.

In this coming of age novel, Tartt’s protagonist, Theo Decker, suffers a devastating loss in the opening section of the book, and must find a way to survive. As he moves from New York to Las Vegas and then back again, the one constant is a small painting: The Goldfinch. Tarrt’s exquisite language and meticulous descriptions of Theo’s journey will keep the reader enthralled along the way. This is a story of loss and obsession, of survival and reinvention.

Tartt’s premise – do we control our own destiny or are we at the mercy of a random universe? – is not a new one, but in her hands it seems fresh and relevant.

The Goldfinch is a perfect blend of gorgeous descriptive language, well-drawn, meticulously developed characters, a riveting plot, and important cultural themes. The book examines loss, human connetion, desperation, the meaning of art, and redemption. It is a novel that invites conversation.

One of the great books of the year. A brilliant Bildungsroman set in New York City and throughout America.


Date published
Little Brown


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