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The Bonfire of the Vanities Audiobook

The Bonfire of the Vanities

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Publisher's Summary

Tom Wolfe's best-selling modern classic tells the story of Sherman McCoy, an elite Wall Street bond trader who has it all: wealth, power, prestige, a Park Avenue apartment, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress - until one wrong turn sends Sherman spiraling downward into a humiliating fall from grace.

A car accident in the Bronx involving Sherman, his girlfriend, and two young lower-class black men sets a match to the incendiary racial and social tensions of 1980s New York City. Suddenly, Sherman finds himself embroiled in the most brutal, high-profile case of the year, as prosecutors, politicians, the press, the police, the clergy, and assorted hustlers rush in to further their own political and social agendas. With so many egos at stake, the last priority on anyone's mind is truth or justice in this bitingly hilarious American satire.

©1987 Tom Wolfe; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A big, bitter, funny, craftily plotted book that grabs you by the lapels and won't let go." (New York Times Book Review)
"Sheer entertainment against a fabulous background....Often hilarious, and much, much more." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Erupting from the first line with noise, color, tension and immediacy....brilliant." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1488 )
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4.3 (989 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    PickAx Girl Northern Minnesota 10-03-13
    PickAx Girl Northern Minnesota 10-03-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Still works"

    Though the characters and their circumstances are a bit cliché, Tom Wolfe's observations have a real bite and still inform the current events of today, God help us... Listening to Joe Barret read is a marvel--loved his work on Owen Meany and this is even better!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bev Jackson, OH, United States 03-11-13
    Bev Jackson, OH, United States 03-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    10
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    "Excellent all the way around"
    Where does The Bonfire of the Vanities rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I would rank it in the top ten, among Atlas Shrugged, Unbroken, East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath, Fall of Giants, Gone with the Wind, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's hard to find a favorite character. There weren't many admirable people.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    The way he changed his voice, evoking classes and prejudices.


    If you could rename The Bonfire of the Vanities, what would you call it?

    A Perfect Storm of Classes


    Any additional comments?

    It was interesting to see some of the characters recognize their own faults, only to be unable to do anything about them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan Honolulu, HI, United States 02-12-13
    Evan Honolulu, HI, United States 02-12-13

    Business owner , philanthropist.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun Ride, little to much."

    You feel for the main character after awhile, even though he is a jerk. It had some good observations of the justice system that were defiantly good. Just few and far between.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs. Bliss 01-08-13
    Mrs. Bliss 01-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very outdated and slow"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Those who are more interested in racial or economic politics. Or men.


    Has The Bonfire of the Vanities turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not necessarily. I just couldn't connect to the characters.


    What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Joe does an EXCELLENT job. His dialects are almost flawless and each character has a very distinct voice so I rarely got confused about who was speaking.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was very thorough. The author did not leave out any details.


    Any additional comments?

    Tom Wolfe is obviously a good writer, just incredibly verbose. His descriptions go on and on, sometimes at the expense of the plot or character development. After a while, I just wanted to say, "Get on with it!"

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer light 12-06-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    3
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    "Too much "acting" at end of reading"
    Would you be willing to try another book from Tom Wolfe? Why or why not?

    Definitely.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Joe Barrett’s performances?

    Yes, the reading was great until the last couple hours. Then the reader started over acting for the characters and I thought it was distracting.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FinanceBuzz Loganville, GA 12-06-11
    FinanceBuzz Loganville, GA 12-06-11 Member Since 2015

    FinanceBuzz

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Far too tedious and excruciatingly detailed"

    I just could not finish it. I got about halfway through the second part and found myself feeling like I was on a forced march going "let's just get this one over with." At that point, why finish it? I think the story has promised based on the movie. Unfortunately, Wolfe goes into so much excruciating and unnecessary detail on the most mundane points that you lose focus on the story. Throw in a terrible narrator who overdoes almost every character and I simply could not take it and said, "Next!" Based on my experience with "Man in Full" many years, I should have been wary of another Tom Wolfe book. I won't make the mistake again.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 03-08-11
    Amazon Customer United States 03-08-11 Member Since 2016

    picky reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    75
    4
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    "This narrator is the best!"

    Joe Barrett narrates with great tone, speed and expression. Also listen to 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' for more from this narrator.
    This novel took me back to the 80s with reference to the lavish decor and excess shoulder paddage. Characters are well defined and interesting enough to keep one's attention throughout. Loved it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 11-08-10
    Paul 11-08-10 Member Since 2015

    I like books that have interesting characters and easy to follow plots. For example, Cormoran Strike, is a great character for me.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better listened to than read"

    I read Bonfire of the Vanities when it first came out and liked it. I just finished listening to it and finally understood what Tom Wolfe was trying to do. This book is fantastic listened to. I listen to 100 books a year and this was one of the best that I've ever heard. I think Wolfe meant it to be read. The narrator was spectacular with all his voices and the characters all came out well developed and interesting. The end of the book was somewhat disappointing considering how great the first 99% was. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 08-27-10
    Sher from Provo Utah 08-27-10 Member Since 2015

    Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful Commentary on Our Society"

    Sometimes I really loved this book, and sometimes I just thought it was too far over the top. I did not like the swearing, but I understand why it was put in. I don't enjoy reading the expletives, however. Makes me uncomfortable. Aside from that, I think the writing style was great. I got a bit bogged down in it at the end, though. I actually thought the ending was disappointing. Maybe it is because I expected something else.

    I have heard about this book for a long time, and I now understand its title, which is a great title. I will probably think about this book for years. The narrator, Joe Barrett, was one of the best I have ever heard.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Truckee, US, Canada 05-25-10
    Dave Truckee, US, Canada 05-25-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "entertaining but dissapointing"

    I listened to this on a cross-country drive and it kept me entertained for many hours due to the lively and colorful narration. However, as a work of literature I was rather dissapointed. Although there is a decent storyline, the book consists of a series of excessively long and detailed scenes characterizing aspects of the legal system, wall street, and high-society of NY. Although I realize this is a satirical work, the fact that all of the characters are such blatant racial and social stereotypes made it difficult to take much interest in them. To top it all off, after some 27 hours of building up to an event, Wolfe ends it suddenly with an uncharacteristically terse epilogue that can hardly be called a conclusion, as if he just got tired of it all (understandably) and asked someone else to wrap up. Guess I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the novel, but not to others.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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