This is a large scope novel that reminded me of Dangerous Liaisons, A Tale of Two Cities and Gone with the Wind.
The story is set in England during the Napoleonic wars and focuses on the lives of the opportunist Becky Sharp, her naive friend Amelia, and the men of their lives.
What needs to be said about Vanity Fair is that while it is in many ways a quintessential 19th Century British novel, it is also very surprising, even for the reader who is already quite familiar with the literature of that time and place. Let me explain. Yes the dichotomy between good and evil is present. Thus we see that Becky Sharp is considered to be immoral while her kind and quiet (and boring!) friend Amelia seems to be upheld as the ideal of the time. A similar dichotomy exists between the careless George Osborne and his devoted but clumsy friend Captain Dobbin. However, the development of the story gradually makes the "good" characters more complex as the author himself also becomes more critical of them. This is not something that I expected.
Finally, the character of Becky Sharp, one of the most memorable characters among the 19th Century novel I have read makes the novel worth reading. Ultimately, what makes her story so compelling is that despite the fact that she is portrayed as being the most immoral character of the novel, her behavior mainly underlined the flaws of all the people she encountered throughout her adventures in a way that did not make me sorry for her foolish victims.
A must read! The best book I have read so far this year!