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Extended Audio Sample Vanity Fair Audiobook, by William Makepeace Thackeray
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (44,444 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Makepeace Thackeray Narrator: Edward Petherbridge Publisher: The Copyright Group Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2011 ISBN:
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This book comes with an introduction and notes by Owen Knowles, University of Hull. Thackeray's upper-class Regency world is a noisy and jostling commercial fairground, predominantly driven by acquisitive greed and soulless materialism, in which the narrator himself plays a brilliantly versatile role as a serio-comic observer. Although subtitled 'A Novel without a Hero', Vanity Fair follows the fortunes of two contrasting but inter-linked lives. Through the retiring Amelia Sedley and the brilliant Becky Sharp, Thackeray examines the position of women in an intensely exploitative male world.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nath | 2/11/2014

    " Click and read my review. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yulande Lindsay | 2/1/2014

    " Excellent, satire at its best. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny McPhee | 1/25/2014

    " Becky Sharp is one of the great characters of all time. She's up there with Lily Bart and Scarlett O'Hara. This maybe "a novel without a hero" but it's certainly a novel with a heroine. Becky is not exactly likeable but since when did likeable characters become a plus in a novel? And of course this novel is as relevant today as it ever was. Banking scams and failures, greedy social climbers, thwarted love stories. Nothing new under the sun but satire razor sharp and so very fun to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisa | 12/26/2013

    " By God, I finished it. I've determined that Becky Sharp is even worse than Scarlett O'Hara... and that's saying a lot. God bless Thackeray for writing such a wicked woman. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 12/22/2013

    " Once I got past its massive size, I realized that Thackeray's style of narration made it move along quite swiftly. He jumps from one scene and character to the next willy nilly and thus keeps you on your toes. It was kind of nice to return to a Victorian novel, a genre of literature that satiated my University days, and which I haven't attempted since Middlemarch earlier this year. The thing about Victorian novels is that you can always count on them for overt moralizing, and Thackeray does moralise unabashedly, and with refreshing humour. I let him make me fall in love with the character of Dobbin, the uncommon hero with his awkward ways and "big feet." In fact it was nice to have such a hero to have faith in for a change. I call him a hero despite the subtitle of A Novel Without a Hero. In fact, I think there were 4 or 5 unlikely heros in this. There were many moments in this book when I giggled out loud. I felt like Thackeray and I were co-conspirators in the mocking of the worlds' vanity. And indeed not much on that theme has changed, his moralising is still very relevant. The backdrop of the battle of Waterloo, of men warring, still goes on. As does greed, and all the things we do to feed our greed: deceipt, the spending of money we do not have, the disparity of classes, bickering amongst sons for their fathers inheritance, and so on. I smiled over names like Mrs. Crawley and Lady Bareacres: The old landed gentry's position was now a very hollow one, and characters not born to wealth like Mrs. Crawley(nee Sharp) were forced to crawl their way up. And crawl her way up she did. I have to say Becky Sharp is the sort of character you know you should hate, but that you secretly cheer for. At the same time I was happy to see her karma catch up with her. And despite this, I lump her with the heros. I think Becky Sharp reaches her personal best moment in the last chapter. And her actions there somewhat redeemed her character with me. But I won't give away any of that, except to say that I love a good ending that makes a long read worth it, that enables me to close a book with a feeling of "that's just how it should be." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 12/21/2013

    " So after a semester in which I had three different literature classes, I have no idea why I read this. And I spent the whole book wondering why I was reading it. Now, having finished it, I still wonder why I read it. At least it was interesting-ish, I guess. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bethany | 12/19/2013

    " Vanity Fair is very long. Very long. But it is overall a very interesting book. "

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

    " A very interesting book about life during the Napoleonic Wars. Amelia and Becky are so different, yet they are friends and I liked the way that their lives are followed during good and bad times....I enjoyed this classic novel even if it was almost 700 pages!!!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annie | 8/10/2013

    " Hated all the characters in it, and especially the authorial voice. But couldn't stop reading it. I don't understand. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yam G. | 7/10/2013

    " Interesting characters. The book tackles reality poignantly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 7/3/2013

    " Vanity Fair is one of my favorites! We have two women each making very different choices in life. These choices have ultimate consequences when of course, good triumphs over evil. If life were always this simple. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica (Books: A true story) | 5/28/2013

    " There's not much dialogue in the story so it tends to drag a little. Still a good story and I thought the end where Becky's role in George's life actually helps Amelia be happy was a nice twist. The most romantic line has to be "It was time you sent for me, dear Amelia." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerri | 2/1/2013

    " Great story. Loved the characters, and the way it wasn't necessarily 'happily ever after'. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry Piper | 11/20/2012

    " I rather liked this book. Although it was set 200 years ago, the venal and vapid nature of society has changed little. It's good to be reminded that we're not now going to hell in a handbasket. That's been a key aspect of the human condition for centuries. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rotărescu Sandra | 10/28/2012

    " Indeed , it was very deep . I enjoyed it very much . I must say , though , that W.M. Thackeray is one of my faves :3 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandi | 9/21/2012

    " Brutally long. It took forever to Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley's stories to reconverge. I rooted for Captain Dobbin, so the ending pleased me but there was absolutely no resason the book had to be so long! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kat | 8/13/2012

    " this is one of the classics i wasn't fond of... i'm more into little women and pride and prejudice...just didn't feel this one. I was annoyed with becky sharp....she's no elizabeth bennett. oh well, can't love them all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allison | 6/1/2012

    " One of my all time favorites. The character development was brilliant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn Schofield | 5/29/2012

    " Hard work at times, but worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julieb | 4/10/2012

    " Loved it--followed it up with the Reese Witherspoon theatrical version...stick with the book :-) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 2/5/2012

    " This is a book I enjoy reading and re-reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aline | 8/7/2011

    " This book is still one of my favorites. Full or irony and good words, it is a great reading despite the 1,000 pages that make it quite long to finish. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 V.E. | 6/29/2011

    " There was a good story here but it got too tedious to read properly after a while because the writer kept butting in with useless info. I only really cared about Becky and I didn't like the way she ended up. I really disliked Amelia and Dobbin - they were very annoying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Torrey | 6/27/2011

    " I loved the story, but it was way over-written. It took me 4 months to read because I kept getting bored and reading other things. If you cut out all the unnecessary rambling, it would be half the size and actually an awesome read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn | 6/20/2011

    " Hard work at times, but worth it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 6/19/2011

    " Love the manipulative social climbing of Becky, such a good character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 6/16/2011

    " An epic novel...and almost 700 pages! I feel very accomplished having finished this book. And oh yes, it was excellent. Loved the narrator/writer and the sheer evilness of Becky Sharp. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky | 6/15/2011

    " I had a hard time rating this book; parts of it are 5 star quality, the characters have depth, the plot is intriguing, and I especially enjoyed the last fifth or so of the book. Still, it is a very, very long book and has some spells that are a little dry, although not terrible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 6/7/2011

    " One of those books that is just so fraught with personal connections for me. It is a book that really marks my coming of age. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 6/3/2011

    " Thackeray has an accurate eye for the folly ("vanity") of human nature -- as perceptive as a Dickens, while only in his 30's. He understands the fickleness of the world's opinion and the double-mindedness of even the best humans. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ctb | 6/2/2011

    " Love. Admire male writer who can write an accurate female protagonist. Every ulterior motive, every human foible, vice, and denial with the Napoleonic Wars looming in the shadows. My only regret is that it has been too long since I have read it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janice | 6/1/2011

    " I finally got through this book. There were parts of enjoyment for me in this but for the most part, this was incredibly slow and wordy. Maybe if I were reading this in installments and living in Victorian England . . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 5/25/2011

    " Nobody is better than Becky Sharp or Dobbin. Love this book. "

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About the Author
Author William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863) was born and educated to be a gentleman but gambled away much of his fortune while at Cambridge. He trained as a lawyer before turning to journalism. He was a regular contributor to periodicals and magazines and Vanity Fair was serialised in Punch in 1847–8.

About the Narrator

Edward Petherbridge’s theater experience is extensive. He originated the role of Guildenstern in the original production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and he has been nominated for two Tony Awards, one for Nicholas Nickleby and the other for Strange Interlude. For the latter he also received an Olivier Award. His television and film credits include Gulliver’s Travels, An Awfully Big Adventure, No Strings, and Lord Peter Wimsey.