Book Club: The Goldfinch Check-in #1

Yayyyy book club!

It’s time for our first weekly check-in. If you need a refresher on how this virtual book club works, see here. (And feel free to jump in and join at any time!)


The Goldfinch has twelve (verrrrrry long) chapters, so this week we’ll discuss up through the end of chapter 3 (although that is actually not quite 1/4 of the entire book, it’s easiest to divide our discussions evenly by chapter).

To check in, comment below and answer the following questions!

How far have you read?

What are your first impressions?

Have you read anything else by the author? (If so, what were your thoughts?)

Speculation about where the novel is going?

Anything else?

I’ll start!

How far have you read? I’m on page 147, which is 5 “scenes” into chapter 4.

What are your first impressions? I am a little surprised at the slow pace, but am totally reveling in the level of detail that this provides. I love the characterizations, especially of the Barbours, who are just completely delightful to read about! I am also excited by the art history lesson we got from Theo’s mom in chapter 1 and hope we get more of that. Maybe that’s just because I’m an art nerd.

I knew from reading the inside cover that Theo’s mother dies at the beginning, but it was still hard to watch those events unfold. I think Tartt does an excellent job of conveying the terror that a young teen would feel, not knowing what had happened to his mother in the aftermath of a terrible catastrophe. The scenes when he’s back in his apartment (but before he receives the news) are especially heartbreaking, because by now we the readers can already guess what her fate is and so we sort of squirm as we watch his naive optimism slowly morph into panic.

Have you read anything else by the author? Nope! But I think I will want to after finishing this one.

Speculation about where the novel is going? I wasn’t expecting a 13 year old protagonist, and now I’m wondering if the plot will shift forward into the future at some point to when he’s older or if we’ll just follow him as he grows (the inside jacket description does imply that we’re going to get to know Theo as an adult at some point). Obviously the painting of the goldfinch is going to play some role in Theo’s life but I have no guesses yet on what that might be.

Anything else? Just reiterating that I love the art stuff, and that I now have the hankering to visit an art museum (never mind that the one in the book gets blown up….) And noting how I’ve been surprised a couple of times by spots of humor in an otherwise very upsetting story- particularly on the part of Mr.Barbour, who might be my favorite character so far.

I’m excited to read everyone’s thoughts!


3 thoughts on “Book Club: The Goldfinch Check-in #1

  1. How far have you read?
    I am about halfway through Chapter 3 or in kindle terms, about 10% into the book. (This is the first kindle book I’ve read in a while, and the first one of this size so it’s taken me a bit to adjust. I find while I don’t miss lugging the giant book to the dentist, I do miss flipping pages and measuring my progress by the placement of my bookmark. The click click is just not the same as page turning and having my nose literally in a book. But I digress.)

    What are your first impressions?
    The pacing is a little slow but on the other hand I am enjoying the way the story is unfolding and the way the author paints such a vivid picture. It’s not so slow that I’m bored. On the contrary, I’m impatient to find out what happens next. I agree with Sharayah, in that I loved the art museum scenes and the brief glimpse we had of the mother and her love and knowledge of the art and how much she wanted to communicate and instill that in him. It broke my heart to see the boy’s confusion and hope as he waited to find out what happened. As a mother you can’t help but wonder what your own kids would do in that situation and the thought was heart-wrenching. And the passage where he was measuring time by thinking, “three days ago things were fine, four days ago…” Yikes. That brought tears to my eyes.

    I found myself wondering what happened to the girl and the old man in the museum (was the old man with the girl the same old man he sat with? Did they survive the blast?) and if they reappear at some point.

    Have you read anything else by the author? (If so, what were your thoughts?)
    No, this was the first. But I’m liking her!

    Speculation about where the novel is going?
    From reading the synopsis, it sounds like most of the book is about him as an adult so I’m wondering when and how that transition will be made and what’s going on with him in present day that has him hiding inside. Obviously the painting will play a part. Is it representing his future life of crime that he’s already an inadvertent art thief?

    Anything else?
    Been way too long since I was in an art museum, I definitely need to go wander. And I should probably take my mom to breakfast.

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