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Publisher's Summary

Like Tom Jones before him, Barry Lyndon is one of the most lively and roguish characters in English literature. He may now be best known through the colorful Stanley Kubrick film released in 1975, but it is Thackeray who, in true 19th-century style, shows him best.

Public Domain (P)2013 Naxos AudioBooks

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  • BB
  • APO, AE, United States
  • 06-14-14

A masterful reading

If you've seen Stanley Kubrick's film of "Barry Lyndon," you know the story but not the character. Ryan O'Neal played Barry Lyndon as a rather tender innocent who becomes spoiled by exposure to cheats and tricksters, but Thackeray's Barry Lyndon was quite a different person. He is boastful, conceited, loud-mouthed, a lecher, a gambler, a blackmailer, a liar, and a drunk. "I never struck my wife but when I was in liquor," he comments at one point, as if it was sufficient justification. In other words, he is one of the great anti-heroes of fiction, a man who manages to insult his mother as pretentious, long-winded and vain in the same moment as he is praising her loyalty. Thackeray was making fun of the so-called Irish nobility, who claimed to be descendants of kings while living in "castles" little better than hovels, and "Barry Lyndon" is a satire painted in broad, comic strokes. Jonathan Keeble's reading is one of the finest I've heard in the course of listen to over a hundred Audible titles. He wrings every comic drop from the text, even getting a good laugh just by his interpretation of Thackeray's blanks ("the Duke of ___"). I can't imagine anyone giving a better performance of this text. Thoroughly enjoyable.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Keeble really tears it up (Chapter Four ending)

I saw the Kubrick film 'Barry Lyndon' growing up and always enjoyed the smart narration between scenes. Especially the line at the ending "we are all the same in the end". You'll probably have to listen to the early chapters twice-over to start understanding the prose easily, but after decompressing it's very enjoyable. My favorite chapters so far are on Minden & the Military. Strong anti-war coming from a victorian author, go figure.

Johnathan Keeble is an excellent reader here. Will be keeping an eye out for his other productions.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Pelham
  • PORTSMOUTH, RI, United States
  • 02-19-13

A morality tale made great fun.

Would you consider the audio edition of Barry Lyndon to be better than the print version?

Yes--the story itself is the well-worn 19th-century story of the ne'er-do-well who finally gets what's coming to him. But the energy of the reader, Jonathan Keeble, keeps you engaged.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

It's what's long signaled in the text. Satisfying for the moral purpose.

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

See above. He takes expressive and interpretive risks that might be overdone in another story but work very well in this one. From my other reading of Thackeray I expect the author would have approved the result, and enjoyed it as much as I did.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Forget the '70s film--this one's much more fun.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

a liar's glory days

he's an unreliable narrator. most of the tale is fantastically told, it's fun to try and parse the reality out of it. he's becomes so detestable at the end, It does become interesting trying to find anyone innocent of wickedness at the end.

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Admirers of the Kubrick movie are in for a suprise

The movie is one of my all-time favourites and I've seen it numerous times. It's a brilliant performance. The book is quite different. This Lyndon is an out-and-out scoundrel and liar, and it's an excellent example of the 'unreliable narrator' mode of fiction. Kubrick took what he wanted and abandoned the rest. Thackeray himself thought of it as something of a failure, and lost interest in it when the serial form did not find approval with readers. This shows: all the later part is very cursory. It's extremely verbose and despite the reader's best efforts (he is very good) I skipped forward a couple of times to get the plot moving again. I got to the end but it was a bit of a struggle. Compared to 'Vanity Fair' this is minor stuff.

  • Overall
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Not entertaining or interesting

What disappointed you about Barry Lyndon?

I found the book very boring

What could William Makepeace Thackeray have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

More action, maybe

How could the performance have been better?

Much too slow and hard to follow

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

For some readers, possibly

Any additional comments?

No

0 of 12 people found this review helpful