27 The Goldfinch Quotes by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt’s novel ‘The Goldfinch’ revolves around Theodore Decker, a 13-year-old boy who endures a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The attack claims the life of his mother and leads him to acquire Carel Fabritius’s painting, ‘The Goldfinch’.


Let’s explore the great quotes from The Goldfinch novel.

The Goldfinch Quotes by Donna Tartt

“There’s no ‘rational grounds’ for anything I care about.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Sometimes it’s about playing a poor hand well.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Sometimes we want what we want even if we know it’s going to kill us.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Hard to put things right. You don’t often get that chance. Sometimes all you can do is not get caught.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Always remember, the person we’re really working for is the person who’s restoring the piece a hundred years from now. He’s the one we want to impress.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Never do what you can’t undo.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Why do I care about all the wrong things, and nothing at all for the right ones? Or, to tip it another way: how can I see so clearly that everything I love or care about is illusion, and yet – for me, anyway – all that’s worth living for lies in that charm?” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“People die, sure,” my mother was saying. “But it’s so heartbreaking and unnecessary how we lose things. From pure carelessness. Fires, wars. The Parthenon, used as a munitions storehouse. I guess that anything we manage to save from history is a miracle.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

Quotes from The Goldfinch Novel

“There had been nights in the desert where I was so sick with laughter, convulsed and doubled over with aching stomach for hours on end, I would happily have thrown myself in front of a car to make it stop.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“The center of my earth is you.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Who cares? If he is good to you? None of us ever find enough kindness in the world, do we?” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“For in the deepest, most unshakable part of myself reason was useless. She was the missing kingdom, the unbruised part of myself I’d lost with my mother. Everything about her was a snowstorm of fascination.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“That woman can sell water to a drowning man.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“How strange to find that the present contained such a bright shard of the living past, damaged and eroded but not destroyed.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“But though it was the most resonant and real-seeming thing that had happened in a long time, I didn’t want to spoil it by talking about it…” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

Best Goldfinch Quotes

“My hopes for a relationship with her were wholly unreal, whereas my ongoing misery, and frustration, were an all-too-horrible reality. Was groundless, hopeless romantic obsession any way to waste the rest of my life?” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“We can’t choose what we want and don’t want and that’s the hard lonely truth. Sometimes we want what we want even if we know it’s going to kill us. We can’t escape who we are.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

Famous The Goldfinch Quotes by Donna Tartt

“Maybe the one had to be lost for the others to be found?” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“Who was it that said that coincidence was just God’s way of remaining anonymous?” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“We are so customed to disguise ourselves to others that, in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“To understand the world at all, sometimes you could only focus on a tiny bit of it, look very hard at what was close to hand and make it stand in for the whole;” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“When you feel homesick,’ he said, ‘just look up. Because the moon is the same wherever you go.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“The sky was a rich, mindless, never-ending blue, like a promise of some ridiculous glory that wasn’t really there.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).

“I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe.” ~ Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch).



A passionate writer who specializes in writing book reviews. I spent most of my time lost in the pages of novels and bestsellers, immersing myself in different worlds and stories. This love for reading eventually led me to pursue a career in writing.

Articles: 186