Looking for more books like The Goldfinch?
The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, is 771 pages long, making it neither quick nor easy to read. However, the novel’s intricate and innovative plot keeps you hooked until the very end, so it’s no wonder people are scouring shelves for more books like it.
Story of Theo Decker’s coming-of-age, told retroactively through the eyes of the protagonist who survived a devastating terror attack on the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which unfortunately killed his mother.
His mother’s tragic death haunts him as much as the impulsive theft of the famous dutch painting ‘The Goldfinch’ while he’s sifting through rubble in the wreckage. His tumultuous childhood, descent into the underground art scene, battles with addiction, and the many characters he meets along the way are all depicted in the film after the explosion
The following works, like The Goldfinch, explore a wide range of themes and topics. They ask probing questions about the nature of life and death, take unexpected turns in their plots, and force you to grow and change along with the characters.
Books like The Goldfinch
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer
After his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Oskar Schell, a nine-year-old boy, tells his story in the style of The Goldfinch.
Oskar is a devoted vegan, a romantic letter writer, an inventor, a historian, and a naturalist among many other talents.
He soon adds detective to the list of skills he possesses when he discovers a mysterious key in his father’s possessions and sets out to find out what it is. It is a mystery that will take him across New York, into the lives of strangers, and deep into the past, all in the hopes of bringing him some sort of closure.
Oskar in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is reminiscent of Theo’s struggles in The Goldfinch, so readers looking for books like those in that series will enjoy Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close just as much.
Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
When it comes to exploring fate and how a single decision or choice could have completely altered the course of an individual’s life, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is a must-read for fans of The Goldfinch.
Is it possible to make a difference in not just one person’s life but the entire course of human history? This novel tries to answer that question.
It seems that Ursula Todd has an infinite number of lives, as she grows and dies only to be reborn in the same situation each time. Ursula is shot in the head by Nazi thugs and strangled by her own umbilical cord five times in the first 100 pages of the book alone.
When Ursula discovers she has a unique talent, she puts it to good use, even if it means meeting Adolf Hitler! A rollercoaster of a novel from award-winning author Atkinson, Life After Life is a novel of great complexity and an ingenious idea.
Theft: A Love Story, by Peter Carey
In Theft: A Love Story, Peter Carey, the two-time Booker Prize winner, takes us into the bizarre and fascinating world of ex-“really famous” painter Michale Boone and his younger brother, the childlike and volatile Hugh.
When Michael was a well-known painter, his life was full of creativity and glamour. Now he’s a caretaker for his younger brother and lives in the mansion of one of his most important collectors.
However, they have no idea how much their little equilibrium will be upset when the beautiful and mysterious Marlene, daughter-in-law of late great artist Jacques Liebovitz, shows up on their doorstep one evening in the rainstorm. Their lives are not so bad, and they manage to get by, but they have no idea how much their little equilibrium will be upset.
Carey’s novel, which alternates between the viewpoints of the two brothers, is a work of genius in its originality and character development. If you enjoyed The Goldfinch’s art and antique deals, you’ll enjoy Theft: A Love Story just as much.
The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt
Any of Donna Tartt’s books, with their poetic style and challenging plots, would likely appeal to fans of The Goldfinch.
There are themes of grief and loss as well as obsession and retribution in The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, which was written before The Goldfinch and thus her second novel.
The death of Robin Cleve Dufresnes, a nine-year-old boy who was found hanging from a tree in his backyard, shatters his family. Harriet, the youngest member of the family, becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her brother and unmasking his killer twelve years after the harrowing incident.
For her investigation, she finds herself entangled in the complex web of drug trafficking in the deep south, as well as the town’s racial and caste dynamics. One of Tartt’s most ambitious works yet, this novel has a gripping plot that keeps you enthralled from beginning to end.
All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
In addition to The Goldfinch and All the Light We Cannot See, another Pulitzer Prize winner is Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. During World War II, the lives of Werner, a German boy, and Marie-Laure, a French girl who is blind, become intertwined in an entrancing story.
During the German invasion of France, Marie-Laure takes refuge with her Great Uncle Etienne, a reclusive war veteran who spends his time broadcasting records of his dead brother on the radio, which Marie-Laure soon becomes fascinated by.
For his part, Werner’s technical prowess at fixing old radios is discovered and earned him a position tracking illegal enemy signals for the Nazi Party in a Nazi boarding school. After becoming trapped beneath a mountain of rubble during an operation, Werner manages to stay alive by listening to Marie-Braille Laure’s stories broadcast over her Uncle’s radio.
An almost-hypnotic read, All the Light We Cannot See is filled with Doerr’s richly detailed prose and an engaging plot that rivals that of Donna Tartt’s.
Is this book familiar to you? Find more books like All the Light We Cannot See on our list of recommended reads.
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
It’s no secret that Yann Martel wrote Life of Pi in order to find inspiration for his own life, and I believe that he has created a novel that does the same for many others.
In this philosophical novel, Piscine “Pi” Molitor Patel recounts his 227-day ordeal at sea with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, which was one of the most memorable experiences of his life.
As a result of an emergency declaration in India, Pi’s family decides to sell their Pondicherry zoo and move to Canada with their animals. Pi’s family and most of the animals are killed when the Japanese freighter they were on to Canada gets caught in a terrible storm and sinks, but an orangutan, zebra, hyena, and Richard Parker are saved by Pi in a life raft.
As a tale of survival with philosophical undertones, Life of Pi is a worthwhile read for anyone looking for books that are similar to The Goldfinch but with a different perspective on reality.
The Miniaturist, by Jesse Burton
When looking for books like The Goldfinch, look no further than Jesse Burton’s debut novel The Miniaturist, which has a deftly woven plot and attention to detail.
Nella Oortman, newlywed to Johannes Brandt, a renowned merchant trader, arrives at his palatial home eager to begin her new life as a wife.
Nella soon discovers that married life isn’t what she expected, and Johannes, despite his friendliness, keeps his distance from her by locking himself away in his study or at work, leaving her in the care of Marin, his bitter and overbearing sister.
As a wedding gift from Johannes, she has to decorate a miniature cabinet model of their home, which she enjoys only because it requires the expertise of a miniaturist. When the miniaturist’s replicas begin to imitate secret activities in the actual house in unexpected and startling ways, even this pleasure turns sour. This revelation has catastrophic consequences.
It’s hard to put down this chilling tale of betrayal, truth, love, and maintaining one’s facade set in the repressive Amsterdam of 1689.
Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier
Since The Goldfinch is set in Amsterdam, I couldn’t leave out Tracy Chevalier’s Girl With a Pearl Earring in my list of novels inspired by Vermeer’s most famous works.
The story revolves around Vermeer’s Delft home and his budding romance with his hired servant, Griet. After serving as his servant, Griet rises through the ranks and becomes his artistic assistant, grinding and mixing his paints and colors, before finally posing as a model for him.
Griet’s relationship with Vermeer grows to the point where she is forced to leave the house and only see his painting of her after his death. When it comes to the Girl With a Pearl Earring, the novel’s central themes are creativity and admiration for art.
To truly appreciate an author’s talent, read books like The Goldfinch. The narrative’s complexity, the imaginative plot twists, and all the different ways they speak to us make these books wonderful.