“I don’t entirely know how I got to my age without having read Thomas Hardy before. Quite probably it was because when I was about 14 years old, and we had a newfangled gadget called a Betamax Video Recorder, my Dad bought home Tess of the D’Urbervilles for us to watch - I found it unbearably dull and therefore assumed that Hardy’s novels would be too! I was quite wrong, because from the opening scenes I loved this and was totally engaged.
Under the influence of alcohol, and following a row, Henchard sells his wife at a country fair to a bidding sailor and the wife, Susan and their daughter leave with him. On waking the next day Henchard regrets his actions but is too late to take her back. He resolves not to drink again for the number of years he has been alive – 21 - and heads for the nearest town, Casterbridge, determined to make amends and to try to become a better person.
The story then jumps ahead 20 years and Henchard is now a successful hay merchant and the town’s mayor. He befriends a Scotsman who is passing through on his way to America and persuades him to stay on and work for him. But Henchard’s past soon catches up with him when his wife and daughter return, seeking him after the sailor’s death and the world that Henchard has built up starts crashing down.
I would definitely like to try some more Hardy – although I’m still not sure about Tess! ”
“Hardy's Michael Henchard is his own worst enemy. Aren't we all? An excellent read. ”Doug Lamoreux wrote this review Wednesday, December 7, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Classic Hardy: beautiful prose, and passionate characters with tragic flaws. The main character, Henchard is by turns exasperating and touching. His misfortunes are entirely his fault and yet the other characters (and the reader) at times pity and even admire him. As Virginia Woolf points out, in backing a man, "who's ruin has been largely his own fault, Hardy makes us feel that we are backing human nature in an unequal contest." In other words, typical Hardyian tragedy.”Hope N wrote this review Saturday, October 1, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“4 STARS An alcoholic sells his wife and daughter for liquor and once he is sober he seeks redemption”Kris wrote this review Tuesday, November 15, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“read February 2004”Judy H wrote this review Wednesday, September 7, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is the ultimate example of reaping what you sow! This book ends in tragedy in the most pathetic of circumstances! REA THIS BOOK! It is often overlooked when compared with Hardy's more popular books ( ie. Far from the Maddending Crowd) but I think this is one of his best written books. ”Jennimcgu wrote this review Monday, July 4, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I tried, I got about a chapter in and thought it was funny for all the wrong reasons and gave up.”Polljax wrote this review Sunday, June 19, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A 19th-Century soap opera!”Belgium wrote this review Saturday, May 7, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I love this book, but it always makes me cry.”Allison West wrote this review Thursday, March 31, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No