20 Must-Read Books Like The Goldfinch

The award-winning novel, The Goldfinch, written by a talented American author Donna Tartt is a memorial to art and beauty. With so  much crammed on each page, it draws you in until the end. 

20 Must-Read Books Like The Goldfinch

Donna portrays art in a real sense in her story about a young boy named Theodore Decker who comes to appreciate art through his art-loving mother, Audrey. Unfortunately, his mother died in a bomb explosion during their visit to the Museum of Art. 

While navigating through the destruction, he came in contact with his mother’s favorite painting, The Goldfinch, and took it. An act that will haunt Theo forever as much as his mother’s death. 

Tartt’s masterpiece questions the enigma of life and fate. The plot twists and turns make you evolve alongside the characters. And just like them, you are not the same at the end of the novel because you have navigated through different emotions. Unsurprisingly, this art-world thriller novel won the 2014 Pulitzer award. 

As you reach the end of Donna’s book, you might search for other books like it. This article highlights 20 books like The Goldfinch, full of mystery and adventures and heightens your curiosity. Let’s dig in!

Life After Life

Life After Life: A Novel

If you are The Goldfinch fanatic because of its exploration into fate and how a person’s life changes by a single decision, then you will fall in love with Atkinson’s book. Life After Life is about a girl named Todd, born with a unique gift; she gets reborn on the same occasion every time. 

The first 100 pages narrate her five deaths and rebirths. In subsequent pages, she realized her gift and decided to run-in with Adolf Hitler for the betterment of humanity. 

This literary fiction book is of great complexity and indigenous concept accompanied by a rollercoaster of emotions that Donna fans will enjoy.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close: A Novel

Like The Goldfinch, Jonathan Safran wowed his readers with his fascinating texts. The book revolves around a nine-year-old, Oscar, whose life changed overnight after his father’s death. In a single character, you have an author, a vegan, historian, a naturalist, an inventor, and many more. 

But after his father’s death, he took up detective skills to solve the mystery behind the unexplainable keys he found in his father’s closet. To what extent will he plunge into strangers’ lives to solve his burning questions? Will he eventually solve the mystery? 

Jonathan accentuates the universal challenges humans face in a creative, amusing, and personal way you can relate to it.

Theft: A Love Story 

Theft: A Love Story

This art-world thriller book shows how versatile and inventive Peters Careys is. He meticulously merges love, betrayal, humor, adventure, and obsession into his masterpiece. No wonder Peter’s fans always look forward to his novels. 

His novel centers on two prominent brothers- Michael, an ex-famous painter, now residing in a remote countryside, and a caretaker to his brother Hugh- a damaged man with childlike emotion and a beautiful and mysterious lady named Marlene that showed up unannounced. 

You will surely enjoy reading about the brothers- their funny moments, the fights, love life, and other fascinating characters. 

The Little Friend

The Little Friend

Are you looking for another poetic sense of style and commanding plot of Donna Tartt? You will likely develop a strong affinity for another ambitious novel of Tartt, The little  Friend. On the surface, you will see it as an adventure mystery, but as you venture deep into reading, you see beyond that. 

It explores pain, loss, obsession, revenge, and childhood innocence. Harriet must give her all to solve the unknown and unmask the killer behind her brother’s death twelve years ago.


Metropolis: A Novel

Metropolis is a coming-of-age novel that takes you through the life of a young immigrant who suddenly finds himself accused of arson from a fire incident in his workplace. In his pursuit to clear his name, he constantly changes his identity. Like Goldfinch’s hero, he has to contend with destiny amidst a quest through the American ordeal. Feel free to dig in! 

Bel Canto

Bel Canto (Harper Perennial Deluxe Editions)

Bel Canto is another literary fiction book like The Goldfinch and a must-read for every literate music fanatic. It’s a fascinating story of courage and weakness, affection and captivity, and inspiration of transcendent romance and how music can be the knot that binds captives and terrorists together. 

It’s a marvel of a book where you will laugh out your intestine and simultaneously spill all the water in your eyes. Don’t be surprised if you become bound to the Bel Canto Universe. 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

When talking about books like The Goldfinch, The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier, and Clay might not be the first novel that pops up in your mind. However, it’s worth every second you spend reading it. 

Name anything you want in a novel; this classic yet incredible book has everything. From the adventure to the history, the art, and magic, it’s a piece that takes away its reader’s breath. And like Goldfinch, it won the Pulitzer prize.

A Little Princess

A Little Princess

From the novel’s name, everyone thinks it is just for little kids. No, it’s not! It’s a book that has managed to draw out even a crusty old man’s emotions. 

It depicts the life of Sarah Crewe, a daughter of a wealthy man who enjoyed a pampered life. Her life was overturned when her father died, and she was sold into servitude. How will the little princess survive the hardship? Will fate ever present her with a better life? Dive in, and you won’t be disappointed.

Great Expectation

Great Expectations

Dickens surprised his fans and showed his flexibility with his coming-of-age novel, Great Expectation. It’s a graphic novel containing intense imagery, poverty, walls and chains, prison ships, and a combat to death. 

You get to meet and relate with many striking casts: an orphan Pip, the adorable but cold Estella, tolerant and peaceful blacksmith Joe, arbitrary Miss Havisham, dry and ass-kisser Uncle Pumblechook, Mr. Jagger, Wise and fluent friend Herbert Pocket, and someone with a twofold temperament, Wemmick. 

Three Junes 

Three Junes

If you love Goldfinch for its sprawling nature, there is no doubt you will fancy Three Junes. This beautiful novel tells its reader what happens for three Junes in the lives of a well-known Scottish family over a decade. 

How they fall in and out of love, and how it heals them. One fascinating fact about this novel is that you are on an adventure to visit various places you might not even be familiar with in the real world.

Picture Me Gone

Picture Me Gone

Picture Me Gone is a tale of deceit, twist, and turns that pack a punch. It’s a story for all that quenches your Goldfinch hunger. It introduces you to a young, brilliant, and beautiful girl named Mila who finds herself entangled in the problems of the grown-up. 

She becomes a detective to solve a mystery. This narrative exemplifies the famous saying, ” You find a gem when and where you least expect.” I’m sure you will find your own gem. 

Cutting For Stone

Cutting for Stone

As you read through the pages of Abraham’s literary fiction book, you can’t deny the effort he put into creating this piece. 

A memorable journey into Marion’s remarkable life. It’s an epic story depicting power, intimacy, and exceptional beauty in the power of healing people. You will laugh, cry, understand some of human deepest emotions, and share in the anguish of betrayal and loss as you skim through each character portrayed. 

As you approach the end of this piece, you will share the sentiment of other readers thanking Verghese for giving them a fantastic read

All the Lights We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Suppose you have always wanted to understand the lives of the people trapped in a war zone. This narrative will satisfy your curiosity. 

Reading about the blind French girl and a German boy and how they cross paths and must do their best to survive the ravage of World War II will open all your emotional doors and help you appreciate war survivors. 

If you love deep and meaningful proverbs, you sure want to have handy notes as you immerse deep into Doerr’s historical fiction world

Search of the Moon King’s Daughter 

Search of the Moon King's Daughter

If Tommy is to survive, Emmaline must find him.” Who are Tommy and Emmaline? Why is his survival dependent on Emmaline? Will they eventually find each other? Your stomach swells with many questions, and it can burst open at any time. 

Thanks to Linda you get answers to all these thought-provoking questions in her historical fiction, Search of the Moon King’s Daughter

The Wave

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

Omg! This book screams lots of adventure. It’s a take about waves. Yes! Different kinds of waves!  And you don’t need to be a mariner or experience what sailing out on the ocean is like to relate to this art. 

The amazing fact is that turning the pages of this collection brings that sea experience you always fantasize about to your doorstep. It’s one terrific book you will learn from while going on an adventure in the safety of your seat. 

In the Woods 

In the Woods: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad)

As a lover of Tana French books, you will notice In the Woods gives a not-so-Tana straightforward vibe. You get to see more of a physiological territory that relies on a partially solved mystery of the past. 

Rob is a detective and the only survivor of a past mystery. Now more mystery unfolds in the present day. But the sole survivor can’t remember anything due to amnesia. 

As the anticipation heightens, you begin to doubt if the past relates to the present mystery. You become even unsure as a fragment of Rob’s memory that returned to him makes him steer away from the solution. It’s okay to add this novel to your  Goldfinch collections.

Between the Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

Another must-read literary fiction book like The Goldfinch is Between the Shades of  Gray. This historical fiction combined the memoirs and sketches from three survivors Lina, her mother, and her younger brother. 

Lina must do everything she can to survive, even if it means accepting help from the Soviet guy she’s supposed to hate. No wonder Ruta’s fans described the book as an imaginative yet real tragedy penned with grace and honor. 

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring: A Novel

When listing books like The Goldfinch, you need to take your time to appreciate some other Dutch artistry. One of them is Tracy’s beautiful plot, Girl With a Pearl Earring

The author brings life into Vermeer’s painting and allows you to characterize with your mind’s eyes a different perspective on the painting. The beginning part introduces you to Gariet, who lives with her parents in the humble town of Delft and has to support the family by being a maid to Vermeer, a talented artist, and his family. 

Griet meeting with her master transforms her life forever. History and fiction merge seamlessly so that it keeps drawing you in from the picture on the front cover to the last page. 

The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist: A Novel

If you are an avid reader of books similar to The Goldfinch because of the skillfully entangled plot, give Jessie’s New York Times Bestseller stunning novel a trial. 

Nella is keen to start the role as a wife at her new husband’s house. She fantasizes about how perfect and sweet her wedding life will be. Unfortunately, fate has another plan for her as her husband is always busy locked away in the study room or at work. 

Living in an unfavorable environment, she picks up a hobby- furnishing a cabinet-sized model where her Miniaturist skill is tested. A series of events followed that shook Nella. The Miniaturist has secrets to tell that make you burn the midnight candle. 

The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler differs slightly from other literary fiction books. Still, it’s worth each second you spend flipping through its paper. Raymond creates a melancholic atmosphere induced by the non-linear, practical fiction of the modernist era. 

He creates a fascinating world where you meet recurring characters that tend to loom out of the dark. Thus spinning Marlowe, a detective, around and changing his directions. 

The echo of the characters, like diverse pictures situated in a funhouse mirror, the detours, and twisted subplots leave you wondering how accurate are the hallucinogenic adventures. You find yourself soliloquizing about the person behind these events and to what extent Marlowe understands the situation.

This art-world thriller book is top-notch and beautiful- exactly what to expect from a book like The Goldfinch.

Final Thoughts 

The Goldfinch is not a novel you can just flip through its pages. No! It’s a book you need to slowly appreciate all the characters and adventures it portrays. It has various compelling elements that draw each reader close to its pages. 

It’s best to think for a second, figure out what you love most about this book, and skim through this article to make your selection. Enjoy your adventure into the art-filled thriller world. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How old is Theo in the Goldfinch?

Theodore Decker was thirteen years old when he survived an accident that claimed his mother’s life.

Is Goldfinch based on a true story?

The Goldfinch plot is a true story of a Dutch painter, Carel Fabricius, who died in an explosion.

Why is The Goldfinch famous?

The Goldfinch is famous for its reputation as a bringer of good health. Italians also use it in their Renaissance painting to symbolize Christian redemption and Jesus’ passion.

Who are the antagonists in The Goldfinch?

There is more than one antagonist in this piece. You will meet Namaan Silver- who threatens Theo’s father, Lucuis Reeve- who challenges Theo and accuses him of stealing; and Martin- whom Theo killed.

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Enny Okino