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The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp

Narrated by: Aysha Kala
Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)
Regular price: £12.99
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Summary

A hilarious contemporary retelling of the classic society novel Vanity Fair, featuring the irrepressible Becky Sharp

Beautiful, brilliant, ruthless - nothing can stop Becky Sharp.

Becky Sharp has big dreams and no connections. Determined to swap the gutters of Soho for the glamorous, exclusive world behind the velvet rope, Becky will do anything to achieve fame, riches and status.

Whether it's seducing society's most eligible bachelors, or befriending silly debutantes and rich old ladies, Becky Sharp is destined for great things. Because it might be tough at the top but it's worse at the bottom.

From London to Paris and beyond, Becky Sharp is going places - so get the hell out of her way.... 

©2018 Sarra Manning (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"A razor-sharp retelling, perfectly capturing Becky’s scheming, ruthless and beguilingly charming spirit.... An absolute delight." (Louise O'Neill)

"A lacerating, witty take-down of modern manners in the Instagram era. Bright, beautiful and gloriously Machiavellian, Becky Sharp is the anti-heroine we deserve." (Tammy Cohen) 

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Vanity Fair reimagined for a Snapchat generation.

Thoroughly contemporary-feeling Vanity Fair, fits character and plot to the modern world seamlessly.

The Audible version breezed by me, I could have listened to it in one go if life (children, school runs, etc) would have let me. Having read Vanity Fair more than a decade ago, the language, characters, etc. weren't vividly clear, but I could recall a lot of the plot and protagonists from Manning's new take on the story.

It's brilliant. A totally recognisable social media and reality TV world sees Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley cementing their friendship on a Celebrity Big Brother programme. Vying through fair means (or foul), the TV show sees their lives take off on various trajectories, as the wholesome and irreproachable Amelia and the worldly, Machiavellian Becky leave the House and both attempt to make their way in the world.

As times have changed and women are allowed to succeed without the desperate need for a man by their sides to provide for them, Manning needs to recreate situations in which both women still require their novel's romantic interests. I loved the current manifestations of the men, their occupations and links to Thackeray's originals.

But it is the women's story, Becky's AND Amelia's - I was glad Amelia featured so strongly. And both character arcs were believable and easy to throw myself into as a listener. Becky's background and lack of connection/support leaves her very much as Vanity Fair's Becky, living off her wiles, and in a modern context, using social media as her way into notoriety and affluence. Amelia remains a meek woman, blind to the faults of her beloved until she develops insight and is able to grow as a character.

Very cleverly constructed to recreate scenes, lines and a cast that Thackeray might recognise. A world that a new generation will feel familiar with that fits the classic very well indeed.

I loved this on audiobook, it could be one I revisit, which I don't say very often at all. A spirited narrator to portray Becky, and 12 hours just flew by. I now want to rewatch the BBC adaptation and the novel.

I hope this encourages some readers to discover the Thackeray, which itself is a very accessible classic. This reimagining of it could be recommended to teenager readers as well as adults, I would hope fans would like this adaptation as well. It could make a nice TV series.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.