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Publisher's Summary

This delightful tale of thwarted ambition and forbidden love follows the adventures and fortunes of an endearing young rogue, Frank Softly. Originally serialized in Household Words in 1859, Rogue is one of Collins's most richly comic creations.

Propelled into society by his ever-hopeful father, Frank is introduced to a variety of professions in order to make his fortune. Not industrious by nature, however, Frank finds working life a challenge, and by his 25th birthday, he has failed medicine, portrait-painting, caricaturing, and even forgery. Disenchanted with life, he despairs of ever finding something to commit to — until he meets Alicia Dulcifer and her inexplicably wealthy father.

Proffering his own take on picaresque storytelling — and with many a grain of truth for 20-somethings today — this is Wilkie Collins at his entertaining best.

(P)2000 Blackstone Audio Inc

What listeners say about A Rogue's Life

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One Twisting, Turning, Fun Book!

This is a fun book! Having recently finished The Moonstone and The Lady in White (several times), I thought I had a handle on Mr. Wilkie Collins' style and subject matter. Was I ever so wrong. This book is written as if autobiographical as he looks back on his well meaning and hard-working youthful self who just couldn't get things to work out. He stumbled out of one career and scrape into another with sometimes alarming frequency. He got tossed out of the house by his family, thrown into debtor's prison, took up forging old masters paintings. Then he meets his dream woman, lost her, had to search the country for her, then his life really took a turn for the unexpected and sometimes bizarre. The author writes in a matter-of-fact, self-deprecating manner about the most trying turn of events and dramatic setbacks. The narrator, Bernard Mayes, is splendid. I wouldn't characterize his style as BBC World Service where the most catastrophic events are reported as calmly and detached as possible but it is something of that nature. In any case, Mr. Mayes is perfect for A Rogue's Life.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Lot Of Fun!!

This story is simply delightful and fun. You can't help but be entertained by the path and career choices of the main character Frank. Pleasantly amoral, he gets into one scrape after another and always land of his feet but never for long. This is Wilkie Collins at his comical best! Like is very good friend Charles Dickens, Collins would write any genre brilliantly. Just sit back and enjoy the ride!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very Enjoyable

Sit back and enjoy. Very entertaining the scrapes that main character gets into, with the final one in the name of love. First chapters set the stage, and albeit are a little slow, but hang on, you get sucked in and can't wait to find out what happens next.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Funny and Well Read

A very enjoyable listen. The narrator is great. Not at all your usual Wilkie Collins. Nothing supernatural, or dark. Just a well-writing, funny, romantic, sometimes satirical story of a charming young man with no particular calling making an unconventional beginning in life

2 people found this helpful

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Rogue Trip

Though admittedly dangerous company in real life, from the safe distance of the page or earbuds, a rogue is irresistible. And, unlike Barry Lyndon, S. F. Ukridge or Dortmunder, Frank Softly is—or at least seems to be—a self-confessed, self-deprecating rogue, which only makes him more attractive.

We start by marveling at his nonchalance in the face of family displeasure and disinheritance. We raise our eyebrows at his natural aptitude for various criminal enterprises. We can’t help but half admire his invention and ingenuity. Finally, we (kinda-sorta) start rooting for him. “It’s a bold thing to say” opines our hero,” but nothing will ever persuade me that society has not a sneaking kindness for a rogue”.

A measure of the excellence of the entertainment on offer here is the fact that, despite a rather shopworn recording, I persisted in listening. I suggest you do the same; Bernard Mayes’ performance is well worth the effort. By the time our antihero is disowned by his family (chapter 2 or 3, I think), you won’t even notice that tinny sibilance.

1 person found this helpful

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  • JS
  • 01-19-21

Witty

This book was full of such wit. Every explanation and description were full of dry humor. I was entertained from start to finish.

1 person found this helpful

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some laugh--out-loud passages

The story, overall humorous, has a few dry spells, and some overwriting, as was common in novels if this period, but I enjoyed it. There are a number if LOL moments that are priceless!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Very Droll

Sometimes so much so that one is put in mind of the TV character Buzz Killington. Nonetheless, there are giggles to be had here. It would have been better if the author had used more "showing" and less telling. It is in "journal" form more than fictional form (dialogue, rich details, etc.) For good droll British humor, George Grossman's TALES OF A NOBODY is better.

1 person found this helpful

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How to Fail at Absolutely Everything and Still

This was a very nice listen, the narrator does a great job of portraying the characters.

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Humorous and educational

such a witty and enjoyable book. Not the type of book I would normally read. But I was so glad. I did. would recommend it especially if you enjoy discovering the culture of England in the 1980’s

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Clare
  • 02-21-13

Excellent

I have just finished listening to this book and immediately had to post a review! I loved it! Starts off slightly slow at the beginning, but soons racks up the tension into a quite fast paced story. It reminds me slightly of Jonathan Swift, a bit satirical and pointing the finger at classes and conventions of the time cleverly. Some laugh out loud moments as well. The narrator occasionally sounded like he might be eating, or losing his teeth, but otherwise very well done.

4 people found this helpful

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  • NutwoodWanderer
  • 08-03-21

Disappointed Wilkie Collins fan

I normally love Wilkie Collins but this was a very dull book. With very little dialogue, this was a first person account of the “rogue’s” life. Not a lot happened in the two hours that I listened to before giving up. No characteristic gripping narrative. No mystery or adventure. No endearing characters. It was all a bit one-dimensional. Thankfully it was free!

The narration was ok - a bit nasal.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. K. I. Richards
  • 12-15-14

not one of the best.

Any additional comments?

I bought this book over 4 years ago and didn't finish it and decided to try it again. this time I finished it.
it was alright, not as good as the woman in white or even the two destinies.
it was slow to start and only stepped up the pace when the rogue fell in love and became involved in a crime..

2 people found this helpful

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  • Julie Bail
  • 02-05-22

Slow version of rollicking tale

I love Wilkie Collins but could not finish this. It’s not his best book but with this narrator it’s hard to judge.
Narration is so slow and weary I worried the narrator might expire . It sounded more normal and engagingly paced at speed 1.1 or even 1.2 -without being rushed .
There are such enjoyable passages in here but it’s hard to keep going.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • terrymoore
  • 02-01-22

Superbly written

Superbly written - a little known classic - not to be missed for the sheer enjoyment of the language

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Marioncostadelsol
  • 09-10-22

Moderately interesting.

Would have preferred a more dynamic presentation... Didnt really do it for me but I got to the end.....

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  • Jo S
  • 06-07-22

Narration abysmal

I do enjoy Wilkie Collins but the narrator for this book is truly awful. Just couldn’t finish the book.

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  • Hima
  • 03-27-22

Wilkie Collins The Rogue’s Life

Read The Moonstone many years ago and tried this. I loved it. His ability to spin a yarn which is convoluted he accomplishes with clarity and elegant language. Would recommend to serious readers of literature.