Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Ever since I read and loved Tess of the D’Urbevilles last January, I’ve been meaning to check out some of Thomas Hardy’s other work. Unfortunately I found Far from the Madding Crowd nowhere near as enjoyable as Tess.

The plot revolves around the beautiful and flighty Bathsheba Everdene, who must choose between three suitors: the lovely, constant and only likeable character in the entire book Gabriel Oak, the heart-breaker Sergeant Troy or the middle-aged farmer Boldwood.

Hardy starts out lavishing the reader with the same gorgeous prose about country life that I loved in Tess, but as he gathers speed with the story this falls away.

In terms of the books plot, I disagreed with all of the choices Bathsheba made and found her annoying rather than endearing, I didn’t like the way any of the action played out and the only character that I even remotely cared about was Gabriel Oak. I also found it to be a very slow moving novel.

It seems reading Tess of the D’Urbevilles first may have been a mistake, it’s possible everything I read from now on will pale in comparison.

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6 responses

  1. That’s disappointing for you – I hate it when other books by the same author aren’t as good. And there’s nothing you can do with annoying characters – you can’t talk sense into them!
    Hope you enjoy A Pair of Blue Eyes more!

  2. I love The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy. It’s one of my favorite classics. I have yet to read Tess D’Urbervilles.

  3. Tess is my favourite! I do quite like this one though, although I think Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude te Obscure are better. I haven’t read A pair of Blue Eyes yet so it will be interesting to see what you think.

  4. Nice review, Dominique! I haven’t read much of Hardy, but one of my teachers told us the story of ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ when we were in school, and I have also heard the story of ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ from one of my friends. I have seen the movie version of ‘The Woodlanders’ and I liked it. I liked the way Hardy always had a woman as the central character in the story, which was very different from other male writers of his era. I also remember reading about controversies which came out when some of his books were published because his women characters became more and more liberal and fought for and decided on their own destiny. My sister read ‘Far from the Madding crowd’ when she did her bachelors in literature, and I still remember the first line of the book ‘When Farmer Oak smiled…’ 🙂

  5. […] Coffee Stained Pages Skip to content HomeBooks Read ListsBook Journal 2009Book Journal 2010Book Journal 2011Challenges ← Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy […]

  6. I always find hardy so depressing; I had to read ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’, and ‘Return of the Native’ at school and didn’t much enjoy them and I have dutifully returned to Hardy over the years and have never improved my opinion of him.. it’s a shame because other people find much to enjoy in his books. Nice review!

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