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Extended Audio Sample All is Vanity Audiobook, by Christina Schwarz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (643 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christina Schwarz Narrator: Blair Brown Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2002 ISBN: 9780739302002
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At once darkly comedic and moving, this witty exploration of female friendship, envy, and misguided ambition by the author of the bestseller Drowning Ruth, deliciously satirizes the desire to shine in the world.

In All is Vanity, Margaret and Letty, best friends since childhood and now living on opposite coasts, reach their mid-thirties and begin to chafe at their sense that they are not where they ought to be in life. Margaret, driven and overconfident, decides the best way to rectify this is to quit her job and whip out a literary tour de force. Frustrated almost immediately and humiliated at every turn, Margaret turns to Letty for support. But as Letty, a stay-at-home mother of four, begins to feel pressured to make a good showing in the upper-middle-class Los Angeles society into which her husband’s new job has thrust her, Margaret sees a plot unfolding that’s better than anything she could make up. Desperate to finish her book and against her better nature, she pushes Letty to take greater and greater risks, and secretly steals her friend’s stories as fast as she can live them. Hungry for the world’s regard, Margaret rashly sacrifices one of the things most precious to her, until the novel’s suspenseful conclusion shows her the terrible consequences of her betrayal.

Widely celebrated for her debut novel, Christina Schwarz once again proves herself to be a writer of remarkable depth and range. Like Drowning Ruth, All is Vanity probes into the mysteries of the human heart and uncovers the passions that drive ordinary people to break the rules in pursuit of their own desires.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 2/16/2014

    " Very biting look at jealousy and keeping up with the neighbors. Schwarz also portrayed the problem when a little lie grows until it's out of control. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kenji | 2/13/2014

    " This book has taught me the realities in life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzy | 2/4/2014

    " I picked this book off the shelf at random at my local library. Although not a really powerful book, it was still enjoyable. The authors style is different from what I have read before so that makes it unique and different. I was not fond of the end, but yet it ended how it should have. I wanted to know more of what happened next. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lisa | 2/2/2014

    " Blah blah blah. Boring. Didn't grab me at all. Kept wanting it to get better. I just wanted the woman to write her darn book already. Snore ..... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candace Petersen Martineau | 1/26/2014

    " I really loved this book. I can't think of a character I've ever identified with more strongly than with Margaret. As the book proceeds and focuses more on Letty I was swept up along with her. I found myself anxiously reading to discover what happens next. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 May | 1/19/2014

    " This book was an ok read. One where you despise the characters because of their faults. I typically like books that uplift or send an uplifiting message. It is good to step outside of your comfort zone, occasionally "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mollie | 1/19/2014

    " Didn't finish this one. Wondering if Schwarz is a 'one hit wonder'. I loved Drowning Ruth which is why I am very disappointed in this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annice | 1/15/2014

    " Loved her "Drowning Ruth", but this one was a little boring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 1/14/2014

    " I did read the whole book...it got 2 stars for being well written. I try to avoid self absorbed folks with material, power, self worth issues. This book reminded me why they're to be culled. Lincoln picked this up after me, got 1/2 way, and just put it down for good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynne | 12/1/2013

    " This was one of my all time favorite books! I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded through letters between friends living on other sides of the country. It's been a while since I read it but periodically I still think about it. The ending is explosive! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Korie | 11/24/2013

    " Emily gave me this book bc she lost interest. And while it isn't super in-depth and does contain a lot of correspondance in lieu of actual text, it was pretty interesting to me. (A perfect read for at night). I found myself thinking about it and wanting to see what happened. Thanks Emily! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 11/3/2013

    " I read this one because I liked Drowning Ruth. I didn't like it nearly as much. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jane | 10/6/2013

    " Meh.. this book was an ok read. Not nearly as good as Drowning Ruth. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diana | 10/5/2013

    " Very good book! Very intense. Hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nadine Doolittle | 6/14/2013

    " I read this after Drowning Ruth and became a lifelong fan of Schwarz. Funny, astute, and satirical. And she really nailed the ending this time. Given the current ecomonic climate, I think Schwarz was eerily clairvoyant in choosing her theme. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 4/9/2013

    " This was a let down. Although I enjoyed Margaret's procrastination. (and could identify with it). And I enjoyed Lettie's narative of motherhood. The overall story just didn't connect for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adelemarie | 3/30/2013

    " I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars if that were possible. Got a little slow in the middle but overall I enjoyed it. Very funny. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 2/1/2013

    " loved these women. read this book after NYC trip so the walking around town scenes were vivid and rang true. funny, interesting depiction of writer at work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charlene | 8/24/2012

    " Same author as Drowning Ruth. Disappointing ending. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Exactingnemesis | 8/7/2012

    " didn't even finish...too much of a "train of thought...." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Betsy G | 5/20/2012

    " Cute idea but the joke goes on too long "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carolyn | 2/25/2012

    " chick lit. sorry. it's ok for learning some life lessons on managing financial issues, but it's not literature, the kind with a capital "L" - know what i'm sayin? if i could i'd, give it 1 1/2 stars. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marisol | 12/22/2011

    " Boring. Wouldn't recommend to anyone. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tracey | 7/9/2011

    " uninspired "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robin | 6/15/2011

    " Since I did finish it, I give it a 2 but really a 2-. Schwarz is a great writer, I just did not care for the story line (read it because I really enjoyed 'Drowning Ruth.' It is not good to be reminded of the people I do my best to avoid in life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katherine | 4/4/2011

    " The best line of the book is on the last page...The rest was rather long winded and slow going. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candace | 1/2/2011

    " I really loved this book. I can't think of a character I've ever identified with more strongly than with Margaret. As the book proceeds and focuses more on Letty I was swept up along with her. I found myself anxiously reading to discover what happens next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 9/12/2010

    " Main character made me laugh and cringe at the same time. The book's a little tedious at some points, but really enjoyed it overall. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 J. | 6/19/2010

    " This particular book I did not like. I will not read anything else from this author probably. Maybe in the future to see if there is improvement in her work.

    J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nadine | 6/10/2010

    " I read this after Drowning Ruth and became a lifelong fan of Schwarz. Funny, astute, and satirical. And she really nailed the ending this time. Given the current ecomonic climate, I think Schwarz was eerily clairvoyant in choosing her theme. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dorothy | 2/7/2010

    " The first 200 pages of this book could have been done in about 50, in my opinion but I liked the book, overall. Interesting, a little different. Very different from "Drowning Ruth". "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Donna | 1/27/2010

    " I gave this book 195 pages of my time until finally I could not take it any longer. There seemed to be very little in the way of a story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 1/23/2010

    " loved these women. read this book after NYC trip so the walking around town scenes were vivid and rang true. funny, interesting depiction of writer at work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tammy | 12/7/2009

    " The characters were all so vain it was hard to care. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith | 10/14/2009

    " I loved this book. It was a great easy read although for a long time I was scared that the central character was in large part based on me !! It is witty and grounded and a total chick book. Not great literature but a great read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Denidevine | 10/3/2009

    " OK ...but not as good as Drowning Ruth that I loved! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Beth | 7/31/2009

    " O my God! These women are pathetic. Don't waste your time on this one. "

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About the Author
Author Christina Schwarz

Christina Schwarz is the author of several novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller, Drowning Ruth. Born and raised in rural Wisconsin, she lives in Southern California.

About the Narrator

Blair Brown is a Tony Award–winning actor. Her best known role is Nina Sharp from the television series Fringe. She prepares for recording audiobooks the same way she does for her other roles: by reading the text three times. Brown has won seven AudioFile Earphones Awards.