Read Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray Online


Set in late 18th century Europe the adventures and mis-adventures of a minor member of the Irish gentry trying to better himself. Redmond Barry of Bally Barry is a clever young man, who learns the manners of a gentleman. This serves him well, for the next few decades he meanders through Europe, as a soldier, mercenary, gambler, and vagabond. He reaches the pinnacle of worlSet in late 18th century Europe the adventures and mis-adventures of a minor member of the Irish gentry trying to better himself. Redmond Barry of Bally Barry is a clever young man, who learns the manners of a gentleman. This serves him well, for the next few decades he meanders through Europe, as a soldier, mercenary, gambler, and vagabond. He reaches the pinnacle of worldly success by marriage to an English heiress, but disastrously squanders her fortune and good will. In 1975 Stanley Kubrick released a movie based on this novel....

Title : Barry Lyndon
Author :
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ISBN : 9781406808469
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 220 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Barry Lyndon Reviews

  • StevenGodin
    2019-04-03 17:48

    Had someone asked me last week to name them a film better than the book, off the top of my head I couldn't give a definitive answer. If the same question popped up today, my immediate response would be, Stanley Kubrick's 'Barry Lyndon'. A film I adore so much it even had me playing the Film's beautiful music softy in the background whilst reading Thackeray's novel, hoping it would start to dazzle the book. It didn't. That's not to say there wasn't much to enjoy about the Irish rogue's escapades around 18th Century Europe, but it just never reached the heights I thought it would. Thackeray spent ten gruelling years as a journalist covering burlesques, travel-articles, short-stories, as well as being a critic on books and pictures. His early promise came in the fashion of serial publications. Barry Lyndon (1844), opened up his golden decadence of the successful novel.Written as an 18th century pastiche, the work draws a portrait of a dashing schemer who is a liar, a boaster, a self-flatterer, and womanizer, in other words, an arrogant toerag. He plans to enter Europe's social elite with the hope of gaining access to huge wealth through the love of a woman. In this case, her Ladyship, the Countess Honoria of Lyndon. A melancholy sort, who also has a son, Lord Bullingdon. It all starts off for Redmond Barry in Ireland, he narrates through his adventures, first falling foul of Captain Quin because of Nora Brady (who Barry happens to love). There is a duel, which he wins, but has to flee for his own good. He ends up joining the Army, and after deserting at the time of the seven years war, manages to establish himself as a man of fashion, worth and snobbery, and also a professional gambler, touring the courts and spas of Europe with The Chevalier du Balibari, who happens to be his uncle. This would eventually lead him into the arms of Countess Lyndon, safe to say she is filthy rich and highly important. Redmond takes the title of 'Barry Lyndon' after marriage.He finds the code of respectability a protective shield under which he can violate with impunity every social decency, but this can only last so long, before virtue finally outwits him. Thackeray's sense of irony restrains his novel drifting into sentimental excess, and mixes scoundrels with the elite to good effect. Barry, like most of Thackeray's characters succumbs to the code of respectability. In rejecting all the stereotypes of heroism through which the novelist evaded his responsibility to give what he called 'the sentiment of reality', he explores married life deconstructing the convention of the literature of his times, that is, the obligatory plot in which marriage is very emphatically enshrined as the happy ending. As an ironic inversion of the romantic nonsense of his time, the astringent view of marriage signals the real origins of Thackeray's novels.There is no virtue in Barry Lyndon, but he is allowed some capacity for what we may call genuiness when he feels the pains of nostalgia, affections, paternal love, and the hostility of war. The film contained a most heart-breaking scene involving Barry's young son, the emotions of moments like this just never felt as true in the book. Although when there is sorrow, it isn't pretended, Barry recounts the death of his son, making him appear less simple than first thought. The result of such oscillation between sympathy and impartiality, sentiment and cynicism, is that he dramatises the business of judging the characters while not encouraging the reader in their black-and-white views on morals. Maybe one of the reasons why he was undervalued by posterity in relation to Charles Dickens, his chief Victorian rival.The problem I had was Kubrick's film streaming constantly through my mind. And the book does differ from the film in places, upsetting my rhythm. It's a decent novel on rogues and aristocracy, a bit boring at times, but captures the setting and time solid enough. Still prefer the film though, by some considerable distance.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-29 16:44

    What a cad Barry is! A line from the book sums up this blackguard: "he is the one St.Patrick missed."The Duel Scene

  • Tristram
    2019-04-06 14:03

    Yet Another Novel Without a HeroWilliam Makepeace Thackeray, who in his own time was vying for the peak of popularity among Victorian readers with the Inimitable Dickens himself, would by now be completely eclipsed in modern bookshops – as it happened to Bulwer-Lytton, for instance –, were it not for his still well-known novel Vanity Fair (1848), which proclaimed itself “a novel without a hero”, as it mercilessly satirized Victorian society. Although Thackeray’s way of narrating and constructing his novels is rather stilted and redolent of 18th century literary fashion – which, by the by, is rather appealing to me –, his manner of describing reality, of characterizing people and their motives is by far more down-to-earth than the sentimentalism and sensationalism of his major competitor.Even four years before Thackeray wrote the novel that should grant him literary longevity, he came up with another novel that definitely had no hero in it. In The Luck of Barry Lyndon (1844), he chose a very unreliable first-person narrator, an Irish rogue named Redmond Barry, who tells his readers the story of his life, his struggle for prosperity and eminence, a struggle, however, that was mainly waged at card tables and in boudoirs, because hard work and honest trade are not among Redmond Barry’s uncountable virtues. The original title of the novel already hints at the fact that our hero rather relies on luck – and his skills at manipulating it – and the headings of individual chapters still retain this reference even if Thackeray later changed the title of the book into The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. In the tradition of the picaresque novel established by Fielding or Smollett, Barry Lyndon leads an unsteady life, which even entangles him into the Seven Years’ War, where he fights in the ranks of the English as well as the Prussian armies and – mirroring the author’s critical view on the military – takes no great delight in it. Whether in the army, or linked up with his scapegrace uncle, Barry tries to get his advantages over people around him by bullying or by meanest intrigues, and it is a mixture of these fine cultural techniques that finally secures him one of the richest and most eminent English widows and endows him with wealth and the right to count himself among the English peerage. Nevertheless, Barry is better at achieving wealth and influence than at wielding and securing them, and soon his brutish recklessness heralds his downfall into disgrace, poverty, and alcoholism. Well, he was an alcoholic before, but with a view to his social position, one would not have called this personal flaw alcoholism, but rather referred to it as undaunted conviviality.What can a reader expect from Barry Lyndon? Those who anticipate a roller-coaster of a novel, packed with adventure and excitement like duels, war stories, and the thrill of a scoundrel finally brought to justice, had better turn to some other book because Barry Lyndon is rather detached in style to the events its hero recounts. Thackeray possessed an extensive knowledge of 18th century life and history, and he uses it lavishly in order to have his rascally hero name-drop and show off lest any reader might doubt Redmond Barry’s connections and importance. Another typical Thackeray feature, which distinguishes him from Dickens’s theatre-like style that relies heavily on scenic presentation with ample dialogue, is a panoramic style of writing, i.e. Thackeray and his first-person narrator rarely zoom in on any particular situation or turning point but instead concentrate on the broad development of things. What makes Barry Lyndon very interesting all the same, is the obvious incongruity between the narrator’s high opinion of himself and his depraved lifestyle and actions, which he presents in a vulgarly grandiloquent style. In one situation, for instance, Barry remembers an autodidact who has been forced to join the Prussian army and who bears it with quite noble stoicism, and he scornfully refers to this philosophical stance as weakness and egotism, which he – according to his own testimony – heartily despises. Look who’s talking, you might think. From time to time, Barry’s bombastic fits of self-adulation are deflated by critical remarks of the fictitious editor of these invaluable memoirs; although these insertions do not really seem to be necessary as any perspicacious reader will easily see through Barry’s machinations, yet they are extremely amusing.What I find especially fascinating about the book is Thackeray’s apparent disillusionment about people in general and his dissatisfaction with Victorian literary fashions, which adhere to romantic notions of poetic justice and which aim at the reader’s moral improvement. In his final lines, the author muses, “It is as right to look at a beauty as at a hunchback; and, if to look, to describe, too: nor can the most prodigious genius improve upon the original. Who knows, then, but the old style of Molière and Fielding, who drew from nature, may come into fashion again, and replace the terrible, the humorous, always the genteel impossible now in vogue? Then, with the sham characters, the sham MORAL may disappear? The one is a sickly humbug as well as the other.” For sure, there are more Barry Lyndons than Oliver Twists and John Jarndyces roaming the streets, the parliaments and the executive suites.

  • Alex
    2019-03-30 13:10

    Turns out Becky Sharp makes a pretty awful dude.The adventurer is a stock villain in Victorian literature. With no money but plenty of charm, he or she tries to marry into comfort, sometimes with the help of one dastardly plot or another. Sir Felix Carbury of Trollope's The Way We Live Now is a good one, and Lady Audley; Daniel Defoe's Roxana is an early example."Dare, and the world always yields: or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb."And Thackeray loves them. He'll get deep into it with his masterpiece Vanity Fair in 1848, where he subverts some of its tropes and hammers on others; in Barry Lyndon, which feels like a practice round, he just exemplifies it. Lyndon is the cad of all cads, an unrepentant villain, the archetypical adventurer and one of the nastiest protagonists you're likely to run across. He has not a single redeeming feature. He's vain, shallow, drunk, murderous. He brags that "For the first three years I never struck my wife but when I was in liquor." He's a totally unreliable narrator - so much so that a fictional editor feels the need to break into the story to say "He's totally lying here, what an asshole."Thackeray betrays Becky Sharp, but he treats Barry Lyndon fairly. You know what's coming - because he tells you, several times, that his story won't end well - and he more than earns it. In some ways this is a more satisfying story than Vanity Fair, then. We also escape the Amelia / Dobbins parallel story that no one cares about in Vanity Fair; the focus here is always Barry.There's a little something missing here. An immediacy. You rarely feel like you're there for a scene; it's more like you're listening to an old guy reminisce about things that happened years ago - which, according to the framing story, is exactly the case. Rather than dialogue, you get summaries of conversations. It removes a bit from the action; I found it hard to engage. I don't remember Vanity Fair being like that. (Maybe that's why it's like 900 pages long.) And it's not as complicated as Vanity Fair is, surely. I said it felt like practice; it's tighter and cleaner than Vanity Fair, but not as great. For all his charms, and he has none, Barry Lyndon is no Becky Sharp.

  • Laura LVD
    2019-03-31 17:55

    Barry Lyndon es pícaro, egoísta, ególatra, derrochador, mentiroso, xenófobo, trata mal a las mujeres; no hay un sólo defecto que no tenga. Pero él se describe como generoso, bondadoso, valiente, lleno de cualidades, de alto rango y un montón más de calificativos que no concuerdan con la propia historia que nos cuenta - narrador no fiable si los hay. Básicamente él se cree que todo el mundo le debe respeto y que debe conseguir una fortuna debido a esos ancestros nobles de los cuales desciende (y que son al menos dudosos) aunque su familia haya caído en desgracia. Todo lo malo que le pasa es porque la gente lo difama y no conoce en verdad sus grandes cualidades. Todo es culpa de los demás.La realidad es bien distinta, todo lo malo que le pasa es consecuencia de sus propias acciones malvadas y egoístas, pero no lo puede ver.A pesar de un personaje principal tan despreciable y obsesionado por la posición social, el libro es muy ameno e interesante y fue un placer leerlo. Sacando la parte de las escenas de batalla casi al principio del libro, que me parecieron medio un plomazo, el resto es muy entretenido y una mirada a la sociedad del siglo XVIII y los tejes y manejes políticos y sociales de la época.

  • Libros Prohibidos
    2019-04-16 15:00

    Novela de lectura sorprendentemente rápida y fácil, agradable y divertida. Tiene su buena ración de partes monótonas y densas (divagar acerca del miembro tal y cual de la nobleza es lo que tiene) pero no son insoportables. Reseña completa:

  • Maria Thomarey
    2019-04-16 13:53

    Το διάβασα σε2 1/2 μέρες . Σχεδόν απνευστί . Απο τις εκδόσεις "Ζαχαροπουλος" . Το είδα σήμερα και συγκινήθηκα .

  • Greg Deane
    2019-04-20 15:00

    William Thackeray’s The Luck of Barry Lyndon, is a novel-without-a-hero, narrated by the disingenuous Irish adventurer, Barry Redmond, whose lies and misrepresentations, coupled with his misconceptions of honour and manners, unintentionally reveal him to be a bullying scoundrel. Fleeing from the legal consequences of a duel, he becomes an enlisted soldier in both British and Prussian armies during the Seven Years War (1756-1763). His duplicitous nature serves him well as a spy, a gamester and confidence man, improving his skills as a charlatan under his uncle, the Chevalier de Balibari. He hunts down the Countess of Lyndon, picking quarrels with her admirers and duelling with them, while weaving a scandal round her that obliges her to marry him. Despite achieving a great fortune, he dies, attended only by his mother, a bankrupt in the Fleet Prison. On his life’s journey he becomes increasingly alcoholic, starting on one bottle of wine a day to six, and suffering from delirium tremens. Barry Lyndon may be Thackeray's most unsavoury story, the eponymous character having no redeeming traits at all. Redmond Barry is similar to Henry Fielding's villain Jonathan Wild, though he commits his own misdeeds, always managing to stay within the law as it was in the 18th century. Unlike Wilding, Lyndon amuses his audience by his lack of self-knowledge frequently describing others as 'Common' while coming to believe in the fantasy he embellishes that he is descended from the kings of Ireland. Other inconsistencies abound including Lyndon’s belief that he is a man of courage and of genius, though he is tricked by his first love, Nora Brady; the intriguing Countess Ida; and, on several occasions, by his wife, Lady Lyndon, whom the reader is pleased to see finally manages to rid herself of him. He is a bully who abuses and robs those unable to defend themselves — women, children, and weaklings, including Lord Fakenham whom he beats and robs while he is wounded and bedridden with fever. He savagely thrashes his step-son, Lord Bullingdon, when he begins to defy him. A further irony in Lyndon’s claims to noble Irish lineage, is conveyed by his Protestant upbringing, an implication that his family has betrayed its Catholic heritage for property rights, while he boasts that he has taught to think of himself as an Englishman. The novel is a rewarding book that provides insights into several social levels in a number of European settings in the 18th century; and it is a shrewd psychological study of a mountebank who unintentionally condemns himself out of his own mouth.

  • Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
    2019-04-04 20:05

    ''...Mr. Barry Lyndon is as unprincipled a personage as ever has figured at the head of a history, and as the public will persist in having a moral appended to such tales, we beg here respectfully to declare that we take the moral of the story of Barry Lyndon, Esquire, to be, - that worldly success is by no means the consequence of virtue; that if it is effected by honesty sometimes, it is attained by selfishness and roguery still oftener; and that our anger at seeing rascals prosper and good men frequently unlucky, is founded on a gross and unreasonable idea of what good fortune really is.'' p.278

  • Charlaralotte
    2019-04-21 12:10

    Oh I got soo tired of Barry Lyndon. He never learns anything and remains a vain, foolish, pompous ass until the day he dies (which unfortunately doesn't come quickly enough). I did like the historical bits about clothing, horses, carriages, debt, gambling, etc. The rest...oh what a dull creature despite all his braggadocio. The intro said that Thackeray had added many more fake editor's notes at one point. I wish my edition had those notes. The few that were there were very amusing.Also perplexed by how this novel ever became that movie with Ryan O'Neal. Remember the movie as being beautifully shot, but not much else. Somehow the character of Barry Lyndon (the key to the book) was completely devoid in the movie. O'Neal seemed to be a creature completely at the mercy of fate and beautiful scenery. Oh well. Happy to be done with this one.

  • Margaret
    2019-04-11 17:05

    Barry Lyndon is a classically "unreliable narrator". He's an Irish rogue who joins the British army after an unhappy love affair and then goes on to fame and fortune as a fashionable gambler. As in Vanity Fair, Thackeray is interested in representing his characters accurately and realistically, and his portrayal of the dissolute, amoral Barry, a rake who thinks he's a prince among men, is masterful.

  • Anastasia
    2019-04-13 19:08

    Nel momento in cui un personaggio comincia a raccontarti morte e miracoli, uno si aspetta che abbia fatto grandi cose, o che abbia agito in maniera tale da ispirarti, ma non è mica detto, eh.Barry Lyndon assilla il proprio lettore dilungadosi sulla sua progidiosa vita, che a detta di lui, è fra le più singolare di qualsiasi uomo vissuto in Europa (ma anche no).Comincia dai tempi in cui era un bambino proveniente da una famiglia irlandese alla rovina, per mano dei debiti di gioco della figura paterna, e passa per la sua scalata verso il riscatto di una posizione sociale ed economica che gli era stata così ingiustamente soffiata, fino ad arrivare ad una sorta di "i giochi sono finiti, ora distribuiamo ceffoni e caramelle a chi se li merita".Anche David Copperfield, romanzo contemporaneo a Le memorie di Barry Lyndon, è il racconto di una vita intera, ma Copperfield non c'entra assolutamente nulla con Barry, anzi, è quasi il suo opposto.Questa eterna battaglia fra Dickens e Thackeray mi diverte ancora adesso, ma comunque.Barry Lyndon è quel personaggio che, se visto da un'ottica esterna, attraverso gli occhi di qualcun'altro, non potrebbe risultare che insopportabile, un vero e proprio antagonista.Però Thackeray si annoia a giocare con i buoni, ha un'inspiegabile attrazione per le figure dei furfanti, degli ipocriti, arrivisti, e riferendosi anche a Becky Sharp, scalatori sociali molto fortunati che di meriti hanno poco e niente. E quindi patapum, giriamo il piano, siamo i cattivi alle prese con le ingiuste e ingiustificate voci della gente. Io, MALVAGIO? Sì, è vero, a volte ho dovuto frustare quella bestia del mio figliastro perché si permetteva di insultarmi in pubblico, ma non potevo fare altrimenti, capite? Mi disonorava. Sono sicuro che l'avreste fatto anche voi. Io, IPOCRITA? Ma come vi permettete, ma lo sarete voi. Sì, forse a volte ho cercato di rigirare con qualche balla chi mi intralciava nei miei piani, ho fatto qualche moina, ho riempito la mia futura moglie di lodi per convincerla di quanto io sia romantico (ah-ah!) e sinceramente innamorato, ma avevo bisogno di soldi, capite? Io, persona poco ONESTA? Ma io sono onestissimo, stiamo scherzando?! Sì, sono stato il proprietario di un casinò, e non esitavo a riscuotere i debiti ricorrendo alla forza con il mio famoso coltello a serramanico che scatta al minimo affronto, ma dopotutto è un mestiere come gli altri. Confesso di aver aggirato la via del Bene per arrivare prima a ciò che volevo, ma insomma, l'avreste fatto anche voi.Il punto è che Thackeray non ti direbbe mai, "oh, lo vedi, lo vedi quanto è cattivo e scorretto, puniamolo insieme". Non è nel suo stile, non è di classe. Lui asseconda la figura che odia e che allo stesso tempo lo interessa di più, asseconda quello che in fondo era un componente della società: l'individuo meschino che si fa strada nel successo (non manca neanche adesso), che non esita a tirare fuori uno dei suoi migliori sorrisi per ottenere quello che vuole, che non esita a sacrificare persone innocenti per i suoi scopi, tanto chi se ne frega della felicità altrui. E se sei un lettore attento, vedi che ogni tanto lancia frecciatine al suo stesso personaggio, lo mette allo scoperto per i lettori in tutta la sua basseza, come se fosse un clown, però non sconvolge mai il sipario con una chiara denuncia. Thackeray lavora sempre per sottofondi.E più vai avanti con la storia, più senti la minaccia incombente, il momento in cui Thackeray darà la botta finale. Perché in fondo al vecchio William piacciono tanto i monelli, gli piace un sacco quando si danno alla pazza gioia nei loro passi scorretti, però la cosa che gli piace di più è quando arriva il fatale momento in cui pam, fa loro lo sgambetto, e questi precipitano e precipitano. A mio parere è la parte in cui gode di più.Barry Lyndon è originale, divertente e allo stesso tempo esasperante, che vengano ricordati i momenti in cui dedicava un intero capitolo per spiegare nel dettaglio quanto lui fosse figo, oppure gli interi capitoli dove si dilunga sui suoi inviadibili possedimenti, o sul figlioletto che, mon dieu, parlottà già in un amabile francese. Più dolci gli episodi dell'infanzia, in cui è ancora ingenuo e si batte a duello per una ragazzetta di campagna da cui si lasciava asservire (non si sarebbe mai più lasciato ingabbare così, però non avrebbe esitato a fare il contrario). Il signorino è vanitoso, ma sostiene di non esserlo affatto, il signorino è forse dipendente più degli altri dall'etichetta, dal giudizio della società, ma allo stesso tempo si atteggia a individuo superiore e distaccato, il signorino capisce di non essere stato proprio un buon padre, ma allo stesso tempo è sicuro di non aver mai fatto mancare nulla al suo Bryan. Insomma, il signorino non è disposto ad ammettere colpe o gravosi difetti, e questo fino alla fine, lui è uno dei pochi gentleman rimasti al mondo, la storia della sua vita è un dramma che i lettori devono conoscere. Personalmente esco dalla lettura con un sorriso divertito, ma allo stesso tempo assumo un po' le fattezze di quella che potrebbe essere l'espressione di Thackeray: ridiamo, ridiamo della miseria di certa gente, divertiamoci a giocare con loro come se fossero bambolotti da prendere in giro e magari per qualche istante guardiamoli persino con affetto, però che trionfi la giustizia, almeno nel romanzo, visto che nella società non accade mai. Piccola nota a margine: Aldo Valori, o tu, traduttore, ripassati la grammatica. Per carità, traduzione senza nulla di deplorevole, però certi strafalcioni grammaticali come "qual'è"..insomma, eh..(detto fra noi, l'ho colto in fallo in un congiuntivo mancato)

  • Jelinas
    2019-03-28 14:05

    I used to be a compulsive liar.When I was young, I would lie all the time – to my parents, to my teachers, to my siblings, to my friends. Whenever I was asked a question I didn’t know the answer to, I’d just make one up. I once told my little brother that they made a cast of Abraham Lincoln’s face after he died and then shrank it with that machine from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and used it as the mold for the modern penny. Hey, he’s the one who believed me.It wasn’t until I hit high school that I became a Christian and my conscience caught up to my tongue. That was around when I started to value integrity more than getting away with stuff.But I think my secret past as a liar is what helps me to identify with the main character of Barry Lyndon. We both grew up poor, we both wanted to make a better life for ourselves, and we both had no qualms about telling lies if it meant getting us one step closer to our goal.One of my favorite things about this book was that it was told from a liar’s point of view, so you really have to read between the lines. But Thackeray leaves just enough meat on the bones so that we can imagine what the animal originally looked like before it was flayed by Barry’s embellishments.It’s a highly entertaining rag-to-riches-to-rags story, but there’s an undertone of pathos to it. In spite of his high-spirited style of storytelling, there are places where his happy-go-lucky veneer wears thin and the reader can see the desperation underneath that drives Barry to do all the crazy things he does. He wants to be comfortable, loved, and, above all, respected.But his machinations get steadily darker and more desperate until all we can do is pity and maybe even despise him for what he’s allowed himself to become by the end of the novel.After looking at what’s under that veneer, it’s hard to laugh at his antics. The moral of the story: don’t lie, kids.***In a slightly related story, my fobby Korean boss was recently telling me not to believe a tenant who claimed that his rent check was in the mail.“He always lie, Jenny,” he said. The girl who worked here before me was named Jenny. I’ve been working here six months and they still call me Jenny all the time.“He say he send check, but he don’t, Jenny,” he continued.“So he’s a lying liar who lies,” I offered.“Yes,” he agreed, shaking his head disapprovingly. “His pents is on fire.”That made me laugh.

  • Johnny Waco
    2019-03-26 16:59

    Barry Lyndon is a fine, rollicking example of the picaresque novel, in the tradition of Tom Jones perhaps. Redmond Barry is ambitious and headstrong, meant for a life of pleasure and recognition, but there is one slight problem--he was born into a decayed, dubiously aristocratic family in Ireland. After fighting his first duel at fifteen, he flees Ireland and goes through a hilarious series of adventures: army deserter, spy, gambler and card cheat, seducer, and sycophant. Unscrupulous but endearing, Barry narrates his own adventures, writing at the end of his life while languishing in debtors' prison--the enjoyment of the novel lies in Barry's insanely distorted view of his life. Never mind his present circumstances, Barry tells his story as though it were obvious to anyone that he simply lived his life as he had to, and any faults belonged only to others--including those he cheats, seduces, and leaves dead after duels! The only major flaw in Barry Lyndon is the last fifth of the novel. Once he convinces Lady Lyndon--possessor of the largest fortune in the three kingdoms--to marry him, his behavior goes from rascally and good-spirited to mean and abusive. In short, Barry--now the self-styled "Barry Lyndon"--no longer is a sympathetic character. On the way up, he is an underdog, and I rooted for him. Once he was on top, I couldn't wait for the novel to end.

  • Mel
    2019-04-04 14:56

    Vanity Fair is one of my favourite books and from the bit I read of this in the bookshop it sounded like it'd be just as fun. Unfortunately, the main character was such a cad you just really couldn't like him at all. I was wanting a likeable villain, like Becky or Valmont, but he was just a horrid gambler, wife and child beating drunk. The style was still absolutely gorgeous though and there were some amazingly beautiful turns of phrase. It did make me laugh in several places I just wish there had been something redeeming about the main character. I suppose Thackeray was trying to make the point that worthless rakes really were worthless rakes and shouldn't be considered to be the romantic hero. But they are ever so much fun that way, or at least more interesting when they have more of a balanced character (like Becky). I am glad I read it, even though it was disappointing. I shall definitely read my other books by Thackeray though i really don't think any of them will compare with Vanity Fair.

  • Shawn
    2019-03-25 13:53

    The Luck of Barry Lyndon was well written and stylish. Unfortunately, I just could not find myself cheering for the major character. The back cover touts Barry Lyndon as an Irish adventurer and a likable rogue. It seemed as if he started out as headstrong, impetuous lad and ended up being a pathetic, bully and narcissist with no redeeming qualities. He grew more unlikable as the novel progressed. His alcoholism and gambling took over his life and ruined the fortunes of the unfortunate woman he took as his wife. Perhaps, I will like this book more the further I reflect upon it; it has me thinking. But for now, I can give it no more than three stars.

  • Leslie
    2019-03-26 11:45

    3.5*Perhaps I had too high expectations of this novel... I loved Vanity Fair & so expected to love this too so maybe my rating should be 4 rather than 3.5; I'll see how I feel once some time has passed.Barry Lyndon (nee Redmond Barry) is an Irish scamp (similar to Flashman) but unlike with Becky Sharpe, I didn't feel the charm of the character. I also didn't find the same humor in this novel that had me laughing in Vanity Fair. It was an enjoyable book that I am glad that I read but it seems unlikely to be one I will revisit.

  • Sandra
    2019-04-05 14:59

    Esco esasperata ma contenta dalla lettura di questo romanzo. Esasperata perché il protagonista mi ha infastidito, innervosito, fino a farsi odiare, per cui il finale che gli spetta mi ha soddisfatto. Però….La duplicità di sensazioni sopra descritta mi ha accompagnato fino alla fine, con prevalenza a momenti dell’una e a momenti dell’altra. Thackeray si è divertito a creare un Barry Lindon tronfio, bugiardo, vanesio, giocatore incallito, ubriacone, spendaccione, manesco, ignorante, un immorale insomma, che si racconta come il più angelico e candido individuo che ci sia sulla faccia della terra, l’ultimo gentiluomo in circolazione dopo il tramonto di quel buon tempo antico in Europa, “prima che la vigliaccheria dell’aristocrazia francese, in quella vergognosa Rivoluzione che l’ha servita a dovere, portasse discredito e rovina” sulla classe nobile cui lui si fregia (proditoriamente) di appartenere. Non è però la negatività dell’eroe al contrario Barry Lindon a dare fastidio; ciò che mi ha esasperato è il suo continuo autogiustificarsi, il costante attribuire ad altri le colpe di come lui si comporta (perché mi ha ricordato il comportamento infantile degli alunni che sono sempre pronti ad autogiustificare le loro mancanze e ad accusare gli altri, inventandosi una catena di responsabilità che fa risalire il non aver fatto i compiti assegnati alla mela che Eva porse ad Adamo nel paradiso terrestre, e che mi fa letteralmente perdere il lume della ragione). Il gioco riesce benissimo, perché la lettura è, nonostante tutto -o meglio proprio grazie alla scelta di Thackeray di far raccontare in prima persona al ribaldo le sue malefatte sempre accompagnate da idonea giustificazione-, spassosa e coinvolgente a tal punto che anche se lo odi ti capita di guardarlo con occhio indulgente in certi momenti , fino a riflettere, alla fine, sul fatto che chi ha trasformato quel giovane contadinello irlandese in un mostro di perfidia è quella società dissoluta e corrotta in cui ognuno mente, “mente il povero per avere una mancia dal ricco, mente chi è nel giusto, perché anche lui deve tenere discorsi arzigogolati”, in cui “chiamate onorevole il dottore, il cerusico pretenzioso, che non crede nelle ricette che prescrive e prende le vostre ghinee per dirvi all’orecchio che è proprio una bella giornata” e “chiamate onorevole la professione legale in cui un uomo mente per qualsiasi offerta”, che è invece pronta a condannare un gentiluomo pieno di coraggio la cui esistenza è costellata di sfide affidate al Destino.

  • Helen Grant
    2019-04-02 11:54

    The eponymous Barry Lyndon is the ultimate unreliable narrator; as he lies, swindles, fights, gambles and flirts his way across late 18th century Europe he consistently presents himself in an unfeasibly flattering light. This makes for an entertaining and amusing novel, although taken objectively the "hero" is not at all likeable. The chief pleasures of this book are reading between the lines to the unsavoury truth, and the lively wit - I laughed very much at phrases like "a girl with no more beauty than yonder bullock"! I also enjoyed reading a novel that laid out the seamier side of 18th C life in glorious detail. The downside of the book is probably that Barry himself is in reality so unpleasant. He isn't an anti hero you can really love. However, the book is entertaining enough to carry the reader through to the end regardless. NB I feel presumptuous giving Thackeray less than 5 stars but I do think Vanity Fair is a better book than this one so I'm going to anyway!

  • Nick
    2019-03-25 16:54

    I went into the book thinking I was going to get a picaresque novel à la Three Musketeers and was left disappointed. While it certainly fits the basic definition, I felt it lacked any of the liveliness found in Dumas' work. This might have to do with the fact that the story is told by Barry as an old man looking back on his life rather than it happening in the moment. I am still interested in seeing how Kubrick interpreted the novel into film. My advice: if you want to read Thackeray, go for Vanity Fair first.

  • Carolina Morales
    2019-04-07 20:13

    (too bad I don't beleive in Past lives, otherwise, I would have the strong feeling I lived during the 7 Years War)Barry Lyndon is my first venture into a Thackeray novel. I have tried and forsaken Vanity Fair multiple times and have been avoiding the movie like hell because I still hope I may finish it. In the meantime, this book, the Stanley Kubrick movie and its soundtrack crossed my path, so I gave it a sympathetic try and do not regret it at all. Barry Lyndon is an Irishman whose temper is much stronger than his wit, however, he is not that much of a villain, more likely an oportunist. He is an unreliable narrator whose dark sense of humor is present even at the worst of his tragedies. If I could add a subtitle to this novel, it would be "Once you can't escape the weight of Fate, at least humor it down with alcohol and sarcasm".Kubrick's 1976 movie, on the other hand, is a piece of Art in all senses. It has a memorable soundtrack, inspiring interpretations and breathtaking scenery & costums. How Kubrick was able to transform a pitoresque narrative into an epic/tragic drama, its beyond my understanding skills. Bravo to Mr Kubrick. Hats off and hands down to him.

  • Monty Milne
    2019-04-15 15:47

    I read this concurrently with Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility", and every time I was choked with ennui at Austen, I turned with relief to Thackeray. The only real objection anyone can have to this is the unlikeability of Barry Lyndon himself. Yes, that can be a big objection, but there is a pleasure in seeing him progress towards his come-uppance, though moderated by our pity at the tragedies along the way. But there is laughter and pleasure a-plenty too, and the narrative bursts with energy and incident - such a pleasurable contrast to that dreary old bore Jane Austen. It is also one of the few books I know to be complemented by a superb film (Stanley Kubrick's). I have the pleasure of knowing some remnants of the former Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, who are living proof that some of the characters satirised by Thackeray live on even into our own quotidian times. Though none quite as wonderfully bizarre as my favourite - Barry's uncle, the eye-patch clad, bling-dripping, ruffled card-sharper the Chevalier de Baribari.

  • Paraíso Cuatro
    2019-04-11 12:56

    No recuerdo cuándo, ni tampoco en qué sitio, leí quejarse a Arturo Pérez-Reverte de que uno de los vicios más comunes de las novelas históricas es no saber reflejar adecuadamente la moral y el comportamiento de la época. Comparativa completa Libro vs Película de Miguel Jaén

  • Kris McCracken
    2019-03-21 11:44

    A rollicking tale of a not very nice chap, who does not very nice things, to not very nice people. I liked the first two thirds of the book, but hated the central character by the final third.While this is perhaps true to the heart of the tale, it does not make it an easy read.

  • Chris Johnson
    2019-03-31 17:03

    A crazy story about a self-deluded loafer who wanders through Europe in the 1880s. He constantly fails at whatever he tries, but is under the impression that he's succeeded marvelously. A cynical book about human nature and how well people can deceive themselves. A fun read.

  • Doreen Petersen
    2019-03-28 14:55

    Really enjoyed the way the author presented this book but as for the main character I found him lacking in several human morals.

  • Maite
    2019-04-15 20:03

    This isn't exactly a huge book but it did take me longer than usual to finish, mostly because of it's slow pace and it's biographical style. He's a very anti-hero sort of character, his morals are low and he thinks very highly of himself. Much like the main character on the only other Thackeray book I have read, Becky Sharp on Vanity Fair. Interesting to see a writer from the 19th century that wrote basically the same character, but with different genders in two different books.

  • Jim
    2019-04-04 14:44

    I still loved this book, as I love all flawed antiheroes and unreliable narrators, but upon a reread it was clearer to me than before what an utter sociopath Redmond Barry Lyndon is. He literally thinks of nothing but his image, how to advance himself, accumulate wealth and position in society and has no qualms about lying, cheating, stealing or violence to get them. Even his instances of generosity are with an eye to manipulating others into doing what he wants. He shuns his own mother when he feels she would embarrass him, and uses her again when it becomes convenient.And yet somehow, his narrative is so consistently and snobbishly funny, and his observations so trenchant we find ourselves rooting for him to prevail. That is until the final quarter of the book when he finally achieves his goal and becomes a monster in every sense of the word. For the most part it ceases being ribald fun at that point, though while you hope he'll get his comeuppance and see his evil actions avenged, you still find it sad how he ends up, though he does not wallow in self pity. There is a looooong and mostly unnecessary section in the middle about an unnamed German principality, in which Barry becomes vaguely involved in court intrigues. But here it's fairly impossible to keep track of who is whom. He calls same person 'the countess' or 'the princess', or 'chevalier' and 'my lord' - in different passages, and it gets a little confusing. This part has little bearing on the rest of Barry's story except to illustrate the historical period.This is also a fictionalized true story about the exploits of a notorious 18th century Irish rake named Andrew Robinson Stoney, and parts of the book read like a true autobiography, with lots of details about lawyers, business transactions, family relations, inheritences and properties, that is a little clumsy. (This mostly towards the end). Thackeray, writing in the Victorian age, assumes the language and literary style of the previous century, after the manner of Fielding and Smollet - to great comic effect. ________________Not as panoramic or polished a masterpiece as "Vanity Fair", but I loved it as much. The picaresque is my genre of choice and this is one of the prime historical examples of an unrepentant blackguard. Thackeray employs sophsticated irony in portraying the braggart narrator with little idea of how he comes across to the reader.There is a rambling and confusing section in the middle, that is heavily based on a true story, as the whole book is - but once past that, it picks up steam again. Highly enjoyable fun.The tone takes a slightly darker turn towards the end.

  • Robyn Blaber
    2019-04-08 12:53

    If anyone has ever had occasion to boast, only to find that their audience is astonished not at the grandeur of the boast, but the nature of the boast itself... well this is the book for you. Barry Lyndon narrates his life much in the style of Giacomo Casanova, exchanging the unbridled sexual acts for even more unbridled acts of violence, often in the form dueling. What's funny is the way Barry stops so often to say, "Now the reader might get the impression that I [am a very bad person] because of [what I boasted about]", only to affirm the badness and the boast further. Thakeray is brilliant in the telling and the reader does get lost in the narrative, forgetting that the narrator is a fictional character.It's a surprise to me that few "great books" are narrated in the first person, I can only think of a few such as Moby Dick, Catcher in the Rye and Lolita. Also my own 1/2 finished book A Trail of Candy has this distinction. I think that the trouble is that it is not always easy to believe that the first person narrator is as honest as the omnipotent third person, from whom a lie would be unthinkable. The first person narrator may really make any claim and the reader is left to decide what to believe. Thackery provides us with this third person here and there to clarify the narrative and dispute some of the more outrageous claims.Where did the book leave me? It left me feeling ambitious. In many ways it is a standard tale of a low born person making their fortune and way into high society... the cutout for any French novel, but the ambition of the narrator did rub off on me. I may not be so inclined as to duel or bet my life over every argument, but I'm struck with admiration for those that did in days gone by. The least I can do is force myself to complete my ambitious projects (with my life in complete safety).

  • David Ramirer
    2019-04-19 17:00

    die memoiren des barry lyndon sind eine unglaubliche aufschneidergeschichte, die nur so strotzt von selbstüberhöhung, selbstverleugnung, einbildung und offensichtlichen lügenmärchen. lyndon hangelt sich an seinem eingebildeten adelsstand höher als man es für möglich hält, watet dabei in unfassbarem leid und ungemach, den er verursacht und redet sich all diese erlebnisse so sehr schön, dass er am ende - wie er meint - mit völlig weißer weste dasteht und alle anderen sich ihm gegenüber immer schlecht benommen haben.das buch liest sich recht flüssig und unterhaltsam, stellenweise wird es ein wenig zäh, wenn barry zum zigsten male seine vorzüge und herausragenden körperlichen, geistigen, genialen und sich mit nichts messen könnenden fähigkeiten aufzählt, aber genau diese zähigkeit macht auch den spaß aus, weil er sich durch diese widerlichen wiederholungen selbst entlarvt und bis auf die unterhose charakterlich entkleidet, und diese unterhose ist nicht einmal sauber!den einen stern abzug gibt es deswegen, weil das buch gegen ende ein wenig rasch zum ende kommt und die geschichte sich ein wenig verknittert. ich hätte mir ein etwas runderes ende gewünscht, wobei das nicht seinen verdient tiefen fall betrifft, sondern die ereignisse bis dahin. manches in früheren phasen des buches, das weniger wichtig ist, wird zu ausholend beschrieben im vergleich zum ende. aber vielleicht ist auch das der schludrig- und verlogenheit der erzählfigur geschuldet, dann ziehe ich den stern eben dem jahrhundertarschloch barry lyndon (und nicht William Makepeace Thackeray) ab, er hat auch das verdient!