‘The Authors I have read category only has one criterion – and that is I must have read at least more than one of their books.
Of course, there are some books by this author I haven’t read yet like ‘Under the Greenwood tree’, and ‘A a pair of blue eyes’ but no doubt I shall get around to them. It is my intention to critique some of these books properly when I get time. In the meantime – some brief comments and my preferences, in order;
Far from the madding crowd Definitely my favorite book, I have read this lots of times and am always thrilled with it. I just like everything about this tale of vanity and patience. Bathsheba has to be one of the vainest heroines ever! We can excuse her age however. Captain Troy is a bad un, but did he really love poor Fanny Robin? He did turn up for the church so I suppose he must have. All Hardy’s books have many layers and many morals, so each time you read them you find yet another aspect that you hadn’t even thought of before. Gabriel Oak is the real hero in the story though, winning out in the end. I have also watched two films of this book. I will contrast and compare these later, as each has some to commend them.
The Mayor of Casterbridge Another brilliant tale about a man who sells his wife at a fair – and whose crime comes back to haunt him. What a curious tale this is – lots of twists and turns. I think that there is a moral in there somewhere (like in all Hardy’s tales) . His future and past are dependant on each other.
Tess of the D Urbavilles Although this book is loved, I still prefer Far from the Madding Crowd. The poor Durbeyfields are misinformed by the local vicar that they are related to the noble family of d’urberville. the misunderstanding that ensues from this ends of course in tragedy. This story has many layers: Angel Clare and Alec d’Urberville seem to exchange places throughout the book in goodness and badness. Tess herself, I can never make my mind up about. Is she weak, or willful or just a victim of circumstance?
Jude the Obscure This book is so well written, but heavy and so sad and tragic it made me cry. I can’t let that stop me from making it number 4 though. The tale of a man Jude Fawley who educates himself, marries unwisely and falls in love with his cousin Sue Brideshead who is married. The pair run off together and live in ‘sin’. The tragic end to this story still shocks me. The film is true to the story too – but painful to watch.
The Woodlanders I read this book for the first time last year – it made a pleasant read. A woman plans to marry her childhood sweetheart, but finds that through education, she (Grace Melbury) has now risen above him. Her father makes her marry the Doctor Edred Fitzpiers who turns out to be another bad one. Another tragic tale of unrequited love and sacrifice. And that is what is so good about Hardy – he does not have conventional happy endings – at best it is more a case of settling for, or making the most of what is left (well, Far from the Madding crowd was I suppose)
Wessex Tales – another book I only read recently. Nice gentle little stories about rural life, with lots of humour and observation. A few of these have been made into plays or films. I believe there is going to a film about them collectively – I shall look forward to that!