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on 27 April 2015
Great story about a woman who was ahead of her time. Excellent observation and understanding of the female mind by Hardy. You may need a dictionary as a companion as some of the descriptive passages are densly populated with little used words. The insight that is gained to a pastoral Britain of years gone by is very interesting. This is expertly woven throughout the plot. It takes a while to adapt to the language but is well worth the effort. A very satisfying read but ddon't expect to do it in one sitting.
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on 12 July 2013
A friend wanted Thomas Hardy novels to be played in her car. I searched and found all to often downloads were the only thing available - useless for cars! I persevered and finally located so was well pleased and so was she! Never give up!
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on 2 February 2016
Hardy, Thomas. Far From the Madding Crowd
Not too many readers gravitate to the long Victorian novel these days, but for those who appreciate a good old-fashioned read Hardy is a gift. The action in Far from the Madding Crowd covers a long period and allows for many changes of character perspective, and this is part of the novel’s charm. Thus Bathsheba Everdene appears first as a flighty young girl and, after showing distain for Gabriel Oak’s proposal becomes an independent woman, showing strength of character, technical knowledge and sensitivity as well as business acumen. She runs a farm and speaks freely with men such as Mr Boldwood and Sergeant Troy, until ultimately she outgrows her youthful indiscretions to appreciate the value of Oak’s what we might call ‘sensible passion’ in contrast to the very opposite kinds offered by the introverted Boldwood and the lustful Troy. But even Troy develops from being a flippant seducer to one who comes to realise that the now dead Fanny Robin is more to him than Bathsheba could ever be.
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on 14 August 2015
And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be— and whenever I look up, there will be you.
-Gabriel Oak”
― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

I am a big fan of Thomas Hardy. This is the third book of his that I have read and my second favorite (Can’t beat Tess of the d’bervilles).

I shall do one thing in this life-one thing certain-this is, love you, and long of you, and keep wanting you till I die.”
― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

He reminds me a little of Charles Dickens in the way he writes. He writes about life and how it was then apart from he doesn’t waffle!

Bathsheba loved Troy in the way that only self-reliant women love when they abandon their self-reliance. When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never any strength to throw away. One source of her inadequacy is the novelty of the occasion. She has never had practice in making the best of such a condition. Weakness is doubly weak by being new.”
― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

His books always have strong female heroines to. I find it quite unusual for a male writer to write a story from a females perspective usually they write from the male.

“ We learn that it is not the rays which bodies absorb, but those which they reject, that give them the colours they are known by; and in the same way people are specialized by their dislikes and antagonisms, whilst their goodwill is looked upon as no attribute at all.”
― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

I was rooting for Gabriel Oak from the beginning, he is such a lovely character. Bathsheba Everdene was intensely frustrating at times but I think that is partly because woman then had a very different role than we do now! But she was quite clever in some ways and extremely stupid when it came to men. She seemed to think they were toys that she could do what she wanted with. Not sure the character deserved all the attention she got from her many men!

It may have been observed that there is no regular path for getting out
of love as there is for getting in. Some people look upon marriage as a
short cut that way, but it has been known to fail.”
― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

Mr Boldwood is a very sad character if not a little weird and you feel very sorry for him by the end of the book. I’m not sure there was a complete need for him in the book but I guess there was if he brought so many emotions to the four.

This good fellowship – camaraderie – usually occurring through the similarity of pursuits is unfortunately seldom super-added to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their labors but in their pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstances permit its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death – that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, besides which the passion usually called by the name is as evanescent as steam.”
― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

I defiantly recommend this book for both male and female readers as I think he appeals to both. If you have not read a Thomas Hardy book I suggest you start with this one. He is an easy author to read and the size of the book isn’t daunting (unlike Charles Dickens!).

George’s son had done his work so thoroughly that he was considered too good a workman to live, and was, in fact, taken and tragically shot at twelve o’clock that same day—another instance of the untoward fate which so often attends dogs and other philosophers who follow out a train of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and attempt perfectly consistent conduct in a world made up so largely of compromise.”
― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd
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on 27 April 2015
A favourite author of mine, Hardy always conveys a powerful sense of place, a deep insight into his characters' psychology and a plot that draws you on. He combines this with a power of poetic description so keen that you are sometimes torn between lingering in its beauty and hurrying on with the plot. Far from the Madding Crowd has it all. This Kindle edition works well. My old paperback edition was such hard work with its margins so close to the spine that I bought this to make reading a whole lot easier.
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on 25 April 2013
I gave five stars because it's what I asked for: a book I needed to study for English at a cheap price. The novel itself I really didn't enjoy and it was a chore to get through; I would have to isolate myself from all things entertaining in order to force myself to read it. I could literally get distracted by my finger nails it was so incredibly dull. Hardy seems to have the same issues of distraction as he manages to describe everything and anything to do with nature for pages and pages, rather than actually get to the point and tell the story. But I can at least kinda/oughta appreciate the intelligent way in which he can describe things, but he may as well have described the texture of cat food for all I care. Yes, sheep are so fascinating, thank you for the three page reminder. The story only gets interesting when you reach the last 30 pages, but the events are so incredibly ridiculous, and part of the reason I'm using this book for my essay on 'love is a kind of madness', and also because I hate myself. If you want to be driven rather mad in spite of the title, go right ahead and buy this book, you maniac. I'm going to sit right here and stare at squirrels for a while, as my essay slowly shrivels and dies at the pain I have inflicted upon it. God I hate this book.
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on 16 October 1999
When I started reading Far from the Madding Crowd, I was a bit dubious as I was recommended it from my English teacher, and I knew that pre 20th century books required more reading stamina than books I had previously read. I found the start of the book quite stodgyy and rather hard to first get into. But after the first few chapters, I found the book quite hard to put down. I was fascinated by the characters of Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdene. While I was staying at my Gran's house, she picked up the book and started reading it. I had to spend the rest of the holiday sharing my book with someone I didn't think would enjoy it. I have since started The Mayor Of Casterbridge and Anne Bronte's ' The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall'. Since I've read this book, I've found it much easier to read other classics.
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on 5 July 2016
I tend to agree with those who question the enduring persistence of this work in the traditional canon of literature in our schools. (Does it still?). It is after all just another love story and there is to my mind not anything outstanding here. Hardy`s appeal for me is his descriptions of characters and surroundings which give an authentic impression of life in a rural setting in a bygone era. He has a very keen eye for detail! I did prefer Tess of the d’Urbervilles - there are similarities here - take Troy vs. Alec d`Urberville and also Bathsheba vs. Tess.
So if you like atmospheric 19th century fiction together with an intriguing love story then this is for you.
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on 30 September 2012
I've shirked away from Hardy for a long time, but having read Under the Greenwood Tree (Oxford World's Classics) (1872) recently and liking it, I decided to give his next novel a try as well. But 'Far from the Madding Crowd' is distinctly different from 'Under the Greenwood Tree' I found. The story can be summarized easily enough: Batsheba Everdene is a beautiful young woman who quite unexpectedly inherits her uncle's farm, and three completely different men start wooing her for her hand in marriage: the shepherd Gabriel Oak who knew her already before she became an independent woman, her neighbour farmer Boldwood who was until then a rather morose and solitary figure, and the dashing young sergeant Troy.

Against the background of rural life Hardy describes how events develop, and how all major characters' lives are thoroughly changed. As in 'Under the Greenwood Tree', there is this (I guess typical for Hardy) mix of introspective pieces where he analyzes in depth the feelings and motivations of his principal characters, set against the typical scenes of Wessex rural life, and how it evolves from season to season much as it has done for many years before. But isolated and frozen in time as the small Weatherbury community may seem at first, this is no happy and carefree Arcadia however, and before the end of the story people die (and not of old age), murder is attempted, and Hardy chronicles how here too sorrow and misery are as much a part of daily life as love and marriage.

It's definitely not the idyllic pastoral image we may have of rural life in those days, but it rings so much more true. All in all a disturbing and beautifully written novel, with very strong characters, and one which has confirmed my opinion of Hardy as a very powerful novelist.
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on 26 April 2015
Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

“Love is a possible strength in an actual weakness.”

The moment the spirited and independent Bathsheba Everdene arrives into the small amiable town of Weatherbury, she attracts three very different types of suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, flirtatious soldier Troy and the humble shepherd Gabriel Oak. As these men fight for her affections, tragedy ensues threatening not only her life but the stability of her entire community.

This was my first Thomas Hardy novel and it will certainly not be my last. Though an avid lover of classics I was apprehensive about starting this novel, I was expecting a flowery unbalanced narrative but Hardy proved me wrong. The pace was gripping as the characters and the narrative developed over the course of the novel, sometimes even slowing down to give enthralling descriptions of the setting. These little pockets of the English countryside were colourful and vibrant, so much so that I didn’t mind forgetting about the characters for a while to imagine standing in a middle of a field with the sun beaming down on me. It almost makes want to you stand there for the rest of the book. One of Hardy’s key moments of success is that he captivates the reader not only with the narrative but the setting as well.

The characters are three dimensional and utterly unique; from the moment the protagonist Bathsheba appears on the page she is utterly beguiling and high spirited. Her ethics and attitude challenge the Victorian society’s gender norms as she drives the narrative forward. Her male suitors were equally as enjoyable to read due to their incredible diversity in both character and personality. Each character is realistic and seems to be lifted from the page into the world around you as they love, despise and ultimately live in this mini corner of Wessex. This allows the reader to sympathise, empathise and relate to the characters due to Hardy’s lyrical and poetic prose.

The story of the love ‘square’ between Bathsheba, Troy, Oak and Boldwood is a timeless classic that not only captured the Victorian society but is one that still resonates strongly with readers today. This a realistic and descriptive portrayal of love in a rural village: like a country Pride and Prejudice, with less petticoats and corsets and more sheep!

Rated: Five Stars

For the original and other book reviews, check out my website
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