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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 (1754 )
5 star
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4.2 (1244 )
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4.3 (1238 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Eric 03-27-17
    Eric 03-27-17 Member Since 2014

    Just looking for ideas.

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    "3x longer than necessary"

    The story progresses at a painfully slow pace amid indulgently lengthy descriptions of clothing, furniture, and various location in NYC.

    Tom Wolfe is showy in his ability to describe all the kinds of people and things while confining his characters to narrow stereotypes.

    This is why I am not a liberal arts major.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BenS 03-16-17
    BenS 03-16-17
    ratings
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    Story
    "Do you like the movie Airplane! ?"
    What made the experience of listening to The Bonfire of the Vanities the most enjoyable?

    The book is well written and the story has depth and is engrossing. The narrator can do so many voices it is unbelievable.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Joe Barrett?

    Probably not


    If you could take any character from The Bonfire of the Vanities out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Actually none of them. But I still liked the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Yeah... the narrator... He is obviously so talented in his ability to do so many voices but when it comes to any sort of minority it reminds me of Airplane! (the movie) Except that Airplane! was made in 1980 and is meant to be egregiously overt in its stereotyping. If you can sit through Airplane! without feeling uncomfortable you might not mind this reading. But, being that this was created in this decade... you have to think twice about this Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John L Murphy Los Angeles 03-06-17
    John L Murphy Los Angeles 03-06-17 Member Since 2013

    Fionnchú

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You turn into a cipher"
    Would you listen to The Bonfire of the Vanities again? Why?

    Probably not, but I liked Joe Barrett's reading. It enlivened a book I read when it came out, thirty years ago. But I don't need to visit this story a third time.


    Would you recommend The Bonfire of the Vanities to your friends? Why or why not?

    For a period piece, a morality tale pre-Internet and social media, it remains a valuable dramatization of the pressure of what the 'flak catchers' Tom Wolfe profiled endured two decades later in the Bronx. This time, it's the legal profession, not the (other) bureaucrats.


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

    Having enjoyed his reading of John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany," Barrett here can show off his range of voices and accents as he has many more characters to work with. While the "haw haw haws" on Wolfe's page still grate to the ear here, the verve and pathos Joe Barrett brings to the protagonist, Sherman McCoy, deepens the novel and message.


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

    "Pin the WASP to the wall"--a phrase used by Sherman's persecutors


    Any additional comments?

    Ch, 22, a descent from the Dickensian satire into Dantean depths, is harrowing and very well told. One of the longer chapters, but the book generally moves along well. Despite dinner party chat in real time, and those Tom Wolfe elaborations of sartorial and decorative detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jose 02-04-17
    jose 02-04-17 Member Since 2012

    Engineer in St Louis, Missouri, United States

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    "One of the Greatest American Novels"

    First of all, forget the movie. The movie is a joke compared to the book. This book is quoted in Financial, Social History, New York, American, and Political literature because it is a awesome and compelling story. Wolfe is the best American novelist that I have read.

    The narration is great too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JC3 02-03-17
    JC3 02-03-17 Member Since 2016
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    "A classic depiction of NYC in the 80's"

    Joe Barrett does a phenomenal job narrating the varied characters I didn't want to turn it off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-28-17 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    "painting pictures with words"

    Awesome story...but what happened with the girl? I think I'm more of a fan about the way it ended in the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Scrudato 01-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Outstanding"

    This book caught me from the moment it started. The reader does an outstanding job and truly makes you feel like you're part of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise Houston 01-05-17

    Weezie

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    "Starts slow but keep reading!"

    I thought of not finishing this book because the start was slow and confusing. Each chapter at the beginning discussed a different character and I couldn't see the connection. But be patient, as it all comes together.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cora Keegan 12-26-16
    Cora Keegan 12-26-16 Member Since 2013

    I am inspired by the beautiful women, girls, and men who I’ve met over the years that lack the self-esteem to recognize their own beauty.

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    "Laughed out loud"

    You must forgive the book for it was written in a different time, a time when race was a bigger issue and religion and politics were more raw. It is interesting how this book can say things then that would not even be allowed socially now. OK yes I agree this is full of stereotypes and in some cases out and out prejudice. But there is a grain of truth in it all and it shows how both the media, justice and the special interest groups create unintended victims. It also pokes holes at the smug rich and shows really how fragile it all is. But most of all it is just a classic comedy of pile of humans building a ridiculously funny situation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara G. Hardin 12-23-16 Member Since 2016
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    "not worth a day of my life"

    This was a very long story about characters that I still did not connect with, even after listening for 27 hours. Some content was interesting but most was maddening, so at least the story did provoke some emotion. Of course it was a well-written story, considering the author, and the performance was flawless. I'm just a bit sad that I chose to spend a day of my life listening to this instead of...pretty much anything else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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