2015 book challege – #10B – Far From The Madding Crowd

First post of the 2015 book challenge is here

#10A was a failure – I did not read the book. I’m OK with that though. It would have been worse to force myself to read the book, such was the extent of my non-enjoyment. So this is 10B.

10B is Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, because I had seen that a film was coming out and I always prefer to read a book before seeing the film if I possibly can.

The only Hardy I’d read before was Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and I’d written him off as a bit of abastard who hates his characters. Not just because he makes horrible things happen to Tess (I read Geroge R R Martin after all!), but because it seems that at many junctures the narrator muses on what might have happened.

If at this point Tess had done X, all would have been better, but instead she (perfectly reasonably) does Y, and so the rest of her life is shit.

FFTMC is much softer and lighter than Tess, even if our protagonist has a ridiculous name that seems doomed for disaster. I don’t know precisely what “Bathsheba” reminds me of – is it Biblical? – something from Arabian nights? – but it sounds far too dramatic for a calm life. Do not name your daughters Bathsheba. It will not go well.

I enjoyed this book and found Hardy much less of a bastard in his treatment of his characters. We can also feel assured that Jane Austen was not alone in her admonitions to young ladies not to trust a man in a red coat who has the easy art of pleasing with words. That’s not a spoiler, it’s evident (at least to my eyes) from the very beginning.

Dialogue written in dialect usually irritates me, but I found the Wessex accents easy enough to read that they did not interrupt my flow.

Best quote

It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in a language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.

Most amusing xenophobia

…the line where sentiment verges on mawkishness, characteristic of the French.

Compliment that now sounds a bit off

She was of the stuff of which great men’s mothers are made

 

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