Did You Hear? An Audio Book Review of ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt

Presented by Audible

Listen in on your own:  buy The Goldfinch or get a free download here.

There isn’t much I didn’t do while listening to the audiobook of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. But that’s what happens when you’re with a recording for 32 and a half hours: you take it along for your runs through the park, fill your with it apartment to make the task of cleaning your winter closet less laborious, and plug in during your to- and from- subway ride to work. (That’s the short list.)

And, if you’re going to dedicate nearly a day and a half of your life listening to a single recording—the equivalent of 784 pages—your guide through the text better be good. Enter narrator David Pittu, an actor who’s done a fair share of children’s and mystery books, but isn’t terribly well known for performances on literary tombs like Tartt’s Goldfinch.

Pittu’s reading can sometimes seem slightly monotonic and withdrawn as he tests out the main character of Theodore Decker, a 13-year-old who loses his mother at the Metropolitan Museum of Art following a terrorist attack on the gallery. But as Tartt digs into Theo’s emotional quandary, so too does Pittu sink his teeth into the character, quickly convincing the listener that no other performance would suit the book.

As Theo navigates life after his mother’s death, he meets a cast of characters who influence him in different ways—all of whom Pittu portrays differently. Particularly spot-on is the performance of Boris, Theo’s semi-Russian best friend, who infuses a unique life into his sections of the book. Also notable is the atmosphere Pittu creates as Andy stays with the Barbour family, emphasizing exactly how much of an outsider Theo is, and how his role there fluctuates.

There are plenty of reason to be captivated by The Goldfinch: its place atop the best of 2013 lists you’ve been reading for the past few weeks tell you everything I don’t need to. When I was listening along with reading on my Kindle, mostly on the train or reading in bed, I was at full-attention. Due to the novel’s sheer length, however, I found myself doing many other things with the audiobook on, which had me distracted from the story at times—this, the only drawback.

Still, I wouldn’t have tackled this massive novel without the audiobook—I just wouldn’t have had the time to sit down and read it all this month. Because, hey, reading while literally Christmas present shopping? Turns out, I ended up buying someone The Goldfinch.

Listen in on your own:  buy The Goldfinch or get a free download here.

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