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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 (1855 )
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4.4 (1330 )
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Performance
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    50 Magnums 08-24-17
    50 Magnums 08-24-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Hubris"

    This is a great story about "the law of unintended consequences". I first read the book in 1987, when it was first published. I'm a big Tom Wolfe fan and love his use of the English language. The narrator, Joe Barrett, is superb; really bringing the complex characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Alexandra 08-04-17
    Alexandra 08-04-17
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    "Brilliant story & narration"

    What a amazing read, so well written it draws you in from beginning to end! It opens the underbelly of society, exposing the hypocrisy and the self serving arrogance of our society, the racial divide, and it is a scathing indightment of those who use any means to self aggrandize and gain wealth and power. But it also tells the tale of how easily we are led to believe what we read or hear in the media. The frightening part of this story is the inexorable grinding down of of anyone who gets caught up in the legal machine, where truth is lost and there is no getting out once u are in its uncaring jaws. The narration is superb- the story is alive!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Bronwyn Agrios 06-21-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Best book I've read"

    A creative depiction of the upper east side. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. Love this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pecka 05-30-17
    pecka 05-30-17 Member Since 2014
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    "boring!"

    it is an ordinary, plain story without an interesting moment or any exceptional plot. Basically a boring story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Scott Bowlden 05-03-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Superb Narrator. Great read"

    Great story with themes obviously applicable to 2017. Narrator does a great job of capturing the emotions in the dialogue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Keith 04-09-17
    Mike Keith 04-09-17
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    "Highly recommended. Very good."
    What did you love best about The Bonfire of the Vanities?

    Joe Barrett's narration was extraordinary.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bonfire of the Vanities?

    I'll never forget the "pimp roll" or X-rays.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The tension peaking in the final chapter.


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

    whatever


    Any additional comments?

    Great story, clever wordsmithing, excellent narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 04-04-17
    Nancy 04-04-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Slow going."

    Was alright in the end, but I had a hard time getting to a point where it was interesting.

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

    Fionnchú

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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
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    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

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