4 stars, Book reviews

Far From the Madding Crowd

by  Thomas Hardy

Genre: Classics

Date Published: 1874


Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in the fictional county of Wessex, Hardy’s novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

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My View: I am doing #TheGreatThomasHardyReadalong2022 along with @annathebooksiread and @pezzasclassicbooks on IG. Here’s my second read after A pair of blue eyes last month.

Hardy has a knack of keeping you hooked and although sometimes I am tempted to skim the description paragraphs, his plots keep you on your toes. It’s almost like if you blinked, someone could die, or you know, a major plot twist might happen. There’s no giving warning with him. Here you were thinking, ah finally, there seems to be some stability, and then boom. I love how Hardy managed to make a romance feel like a thriller and it was. Oh, I really did enjoy reading this book.

Before you think the plot is all there is, oh no, not at all. Hardy got his charcters etched to a tee. A strong female character as the one whom the story line revolves around and I am half way there already, patting the author on the back.

Unabashed, not to be bullied and the one who stands up for herself. You got me swooning right there. I am going to gloss over a few not so good decisions coming up. “Oh, Bathsheba, what in the world were you thinking?” But when you have been driven to the brink of emotion, you know you got a winner in your hands.

This book takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and reminds me of Hardy’s ‘The Mayor of Castorbridge’ which I loved so much, precisely because of all the drama. It’s just life on a farm and a couple of suitors, you say, who’s creating all this drama? Well, humans, as usual. Who else?

Here’s how it’s with Hardy, “A-turn-at-every-corner plot, beautifully etched characters so that you can know them intimately, and absolutely emotionally inhibited personalities of the characters, some side characters to produce humor”, and tada, you got a winner in your hands.

Have you read the book? What did you think of it?

4/5 stars – I really liked it.

About the Author

Thomas Hardy, was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain.

The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates characters struggling against their passions and circumstances. Hardy’s poetry, first published in his 50s, has come to be as well regarded as his novels, especially after The Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

The term cliffhanger is considered to have originated with Thomas Hardy’s serial novel A Pair of Blue Eyes in 1873. In the novel, Hardy chose to leave one of his protagonists, Knight, literally hanging off a cliff staring into the stony eyes of a trilobite embedded in the rock that has been dead for millions of years. This became the archetypal — and literal — cliff-hanger of Victorian prose.


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