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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book with fantastic characters!, 13 July 2003
By A Customer
I thought that Far From the Madding Crowd was a really good book. It was the first novel by Thomas Hardy that I had read and it encouraged me to read some more of his works.
It is my favourite novel at the moment. I liked it so much because of the fantastic way in which characters are created and established. They are given such strong personalities, like Bathsheba Everdene, that it helps you become swept up in the action.
Far From the Madding Crowd is a novel about a country romance. A beautiful and interesting young woman is caught in a love triangle with three very different men. The first is the honourable and steady Gabriel Oak, who loves Bathsheba and is obviously fated to be with her, even though he seems quite her opposite. There is Farmer Bolwood who becomes obsessed with Bathsheba after she sends him a valentine, he is upstanding yet passive and we watch him drive painfully on to his undeserved end. Then there is the debonare Sargent Troy, who wins womans hearts and breaks them without thought.
This is a novel about life in the country, and how maddening it can be. It follows a magnificent set of characters, set in the beautiful place of Wessex, Hardy's imaginative countryside of England.
My favourite thing about this novel is how it centres on a woman. (A rare thing in the 19th century.) And a woman who is given the power to make her own descisions, be in charge of her money, and given sexual power. Bathsheba Everdene is a wonderful creation, up there with the best of 19th century fictions heroines. As complex as Madame Bouvary, innocent like Tess and tragic like Anna Karenia.
I reccomend this novel to anyone who is a fan of Thomas Hardy, enjoys romance novels or wants to gain a fresh view of England in the 19th century.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising..., 19 Aug 2006
By 
M. Hughes (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
When I was at school I was forced to read several Thomas Hardy novels and was bored to tears by them but now that I'm older and, hopefully, wiser I've embarked on a Hardy revival and am loving every second of it.

The description of people and places and the intricate ways in which the characters interact with each other in 'Far From the Madding Crowd' all fit together to produce a piece of fiction which builds to a dramatic climax that will shock. This novel will leave you frustrated, annoyed, shocked and pleased all at the same time!

Victorian values have a lot to answer for!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Love is a possible strength in an actual weakness", 20 Aug 2014
By 
Sussman "Sussman" (London CA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
For my part I was introduced to this novel in my English Literature class and even then I enjoyed the narrative, I found out early on that Hardy had original produced his narrative as part of monthly serial for a magazine, and I think that this shows in the narrative. As the author had to keep his monthly readership keen and interested, so they would get the next enthralling `episode'.
As the serial progressed the story gained a broader audience. Eventually it gained mainly positive reviews and was ultimately compiled in a novel. What I didn't know, at the time and only realised until recently, is that Thomas Hardy revised/tweaked the narrative on number of occasions. So what is read today, or in this case hear has changed from the early manuscripts.

For me this is a story that can be seen on many levels - yes it is a romance, a comment on woman in the society of that time. However, for me it is the rural background, before the advent of the industrial revolution, which gives this tale that, the extra enthusiasm for the way in which the narrative is placed within the frame work of the story. Also the fact that Far From the Madding Crowd is a case of a novel in which chance and stoicism has a foremost role: "Had Bathsheba not sent the valentine, had Fanny not missed her wedding, for instance, the story would have taken a completely different path." Indeed, Hardy's main `players' often seem to be held in fate's irresistible grip.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Womens lib in the Victorian countryside., 3 Nov 2003
By 
K Conrad (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
No-one can fail to be moved by this novel which contains all the ingredients to keep you enthralled from page one. It can be seen primarily as a romance avoiding the usual unremitting gloom associated with many of Hardy's novels. But it also contains its fair share of death, tragedy and deception. Despite this it is beautifully written and a heartwarming tale, vividly evoking Hardy's familiar countryside.
The main protagonist is a heroine who despite her flaws comes across as a powerful woman surviving in a mans world by running a farm single handed. This makes her an impressive role model. Her trio of romances are sensitively drawn so that we never lose sympathy for any of the characters.
A novel to read again and again. I would highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 29 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Turned up quickly in great condition. As for the story, well - it's beautiful. I'm working my way through the 'Classics', and enjoying them immensely.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tragedy of life revealed..., 29 Jun 2001
By A Customer
An unusually upbeat ending for Hardy... Or is it? I would say not. To marry without passion; to accept what is designed for you by fate; that is the tragedy of life. Bathsheba is a vital and strong woman who is eventually forced into succumbing to the ideals of the patriarchal society in which she lives.
As with all Hardy, you feel you know she could do so much more, but is doomed to remain what she is: woman.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good read., 8 July 2014
This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
great book. one of the better ones from this era.
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5.0 out of 5 stars That Indefinable Something, 12 Jun 2014
This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
This is the first Thomas Hardy novel I have read it certainly won't be my last. I approached it with trepidation since I had somehow gained the idea that his novels were tragic and difficult to read.
I did not find it difficult reading; Bathsheba became so real that I still think about her now a month after finishing the book. I can't imagine any screen adaptations doing justice to this haunting book.
I want to read all Hardy's books now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Love's trials and tribulations, 30 Sep 2012
By 
Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Still as engrossing today as when it was written, 9 April 2011
By 
Jeremy Bevan (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
The first of Hardy's novels to receive widespread critical acclaim, Far from the Madding Crowd is as engrossing a tale today as when it was written. It's the story of farmer-turned-shepherd Gabriel Oak, whose enduring affection for proud and independent farmer Bathsheba Everdene has to weather considerable buffeting from competing suitors - the besotted and finally unhinged Mr Boldwood and the deceitful, manipulative Sergeant Troy. In it, you can see emerging some of the major themes that would preoccupy the author in his greatest works: the changing rural world; characters suffering under and straining against the injustices of Victorian conventions; and (to a lesser extent than in later works) the way that twists of fate conspire to create tragic turning-points in the story. It's beautifully written, with rural activities lovingly painted onto a canvas where the natural world, too, has a strong and distinctive persona.

This Oxford World's Classics edition is excellent value, coming as it does with Suzanne Falck-Yi's critically-established text and notes to the text, and a thought-provoking introductory essay from Linda Shires. In it, she argues (rightly, it seems to me) that Far from the Madding Crowd is a long way from being the rural idyll that critics have often supposed. Reflecting on the fate of Fanny Robin, led to the workhouse by a stray dog which is then driven away by a hail of stones, she notes how the fate of woman and dog `speak powerfully to the limits of romantic idealism', the failure of the pastoral dream, and the unpredictability of the natural world. Violence and extreme suffering 'lurk beneath the surface of the idyll and pose a contradiction that outwardly peaceful Weatherbury cannot process' (Introduction, xxx). Well worth investing in, both for the novel itself and for the critical apparatus that accompanies it.
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Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World's Classics)
Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World's Classics) by Thomas Hardy (Paperback - 14 Aug 2008)
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