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The Bonfire of the Vanities Audiobook

The Bonfire of the Vanities

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.
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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 (1427 )
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4.3 (937 )
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Performance
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  •  
    mdaustin Austin, TX USA 07-26-14
    mdaustin Austin, TX USA 07-26-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
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    Performance
    Story
    "Maybe my favorite audiobook of all time"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! Great story, great narration, highly entertaining!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great intertwining of at first seemingly unrelated characters, very interesting story, great depictions of vanity and other human foibles, wonderfully entertaining.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 09-14-13
    Susan 09-14-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprisingly engaged"

    This was a pleasant surprise. Enjoyed the dismantled modern cast system. Society is so fickle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlene 04-13-13
    Charlene 04-13-13 Member Since 2002

    Toronto, Canada. Audible enthusiast since 2001.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Truly a modern classic"

    This book was described as a modern classic and that is an apt description. It is densely packed with meaning, metaphor and issues -- perfect for studying in literature classes! None of the characters are at all likeable, which is usually a recipe for a bad book. But they are understandable, and it becomes clear through the story that abstract justice is a concept on no one's mind, while getting what one "deserves" is at the forefront of everyone's agenda. As each struggles to get what they deserve and use each incident to further their own objectives, it becomes clear that "reality" is constructed by a mash-up of disconnected people pursuing their disconnected motives simultaneously, and justice plays no part. An interesting book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth New York, NY, United States 03-25-13
    Elizabeth New York, NY, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2015
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    10
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    Story
    "Both timeless and a time capsule, brilliantly read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Great story about urban greed; social, financial and civic power grabs; still fresh, absurd and funny twenty-five years after publication.


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    1) Peter Fallow 2) Reverend Bacon 3) Tommy Killian


    Any additional comments?

    This was a brilliant narration by Joe Barrett - he brought to life an astonishing variety of characters and accents, making this as a superbly enjoyable way of experiencing this classic, Regan-era American novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Rockford, IL United States 03-13-13
    Don Rockford, IL United States 03-13-13 Member Since 2015

    it takes all of us

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "gangs of new york"

    An absolutely brilliant performance of an absurdly compelling story. Even Carly Simon couldn't bring this human foible to light any better. Makes you wonder what would any verdict be "in foro conscientiae" (epilog).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia L. Scott 01-07-13

    itmaven

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A whole different world and not politically correc"

    My husband has been listening to this book. He says it is a whole different world. It was slow going for him at first but now that he is connected into it--he has completely tuned me out and is listening at every chance. Be warned--lots of profanity

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tonya Hanahan 01-02-13 Member Since 2010
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    9
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    "Excellent Performance"
    What made the experience of listening to The Bonfire of the Vanities the most enjoyable?

    Great performance. Could work on speaking women's voices, but other than that - truly enjoyable.


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    So versatile! Rev. Bacon... great job.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia ventura, CA, United States 12-22-12
    Cynthia ventura, CA, United States 12-22-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to follow"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I wouldn't recommend this if you are a casual listener as I am and cannot listen everyday. I found it confusing and hard to follow. Wolfe uses a lot of descriptions and social commentary which may have been easier to grasp reading the actual book.


    What three words best describe Joe Barrett’s performance?

    Average. Somewhat Monotone.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol PORTLAND, OR, United States 10-02-12
    Carol PORTLAND, OR, United States 10-02-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    10
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    "Bonfire of the Vanities — Again"

    Years ago I read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it, but was disappointed in the movie. On a whim I decided to buy the audio version. Couldn't have been more pleased.

    The story is as good as ever, but Joe Barrett is a MASTER of delivery. Not only did his accents portray the various cultural levels and geographic areas, but the speech patterns were spot on. From the manipulating Reverend Bacon to the somewhat slurry speech of the British tabloid journalist, Peter Fallow to the Bronx vernacular of defense attorney Tommy Killian. And I'll never forget the thunderous voice of Judge Myron Kovitsky. The characters truly "came alive" as I listened.

    Highly recommend this as a first read, or as I did: a re-read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Chicago, IL, United States 09-29-12
    Jay Chicago, IL, United States 09-29-12
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    3
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    "As relevant today as when it was written"

    This book should be required reading for all survivors of the financial crisis. Although some of the themes of the book have evolved in the ensuing years since it was written, the overarching issues of income inequality, racial disharmony, and class entitlement still resonate today. Wolfe is especially good at creating a tragic figure, Sherman McCoy, that is at once self-destructive, insecure, arrogant and above all sympathetic. He has taken the simple path that was laid out before him, and has enjoyed the resulting fruits, but can't take the necessary steps to save himself once his bubble is burst. I found myself missing bus stops and train stations frequently while listening to this book, especially at the end, when the entire story climaxes in a fairly shocking and entirely gripping conclusion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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