Vanity Fair, with its rich cast of characters, takes place on the snakes-and-ladders board of life. Amelia Sedley, daughter of a wealthy merchant, has a loving mother to supervise her courtship. Becky Sharp, an orphan, has to use her wit, charm, and resourcefulness to escape from her destiny as a governess. This she does ruthlessly, musing: "I think I could become a good woman, if I had 5000 pounds a year." Thackeray's story is set at the time of the battle of Waterloo, in which the Sedley fortune is lost - and Amelia is back to square one - while Becky rises with contemptuous ease.
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Vanity Fair is a sprawling, tongue-in-cheek comment on the questionable mores of British society and remains one of the defining satirical works of the 19th Century.
An exquisite farce and lengthy dig at the stodgy, The Pilgrim’s Progress, the story primarily follows the travails of Amelia Sedley and Rebecca Sharp, as they leave their button-up girls academy and enter the strangely revered town of Vanity and it’s endless fair, where desires of the heart reign.
Jane Lapotaire narrates this rich, character driven-narrative with grace and restraint, sounding a bit like the grand Dame Judi Dench in the process.
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