Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
A fine end to Hardy's novel writing career
on 30 March 2010
Hardy's last novel `The Well-Beloved' is suffused with a sadness and melancholy, low-key and muted in tone.
It tells the story of Jocelyn Pierston and his love for three generations of women - the grandmother, her daughter and grand-daughter over a period of forty years. Pierston is seeking for perfection in his choice of lover and in doing so lets opportunities for happiness pass him by; at the end of his life, he finds some kind of contentment in compromise.
Hardy adopts a leaner, less convoluted literary style than he uses in his earlier novels, but, otherwise, there are still all his trademarks which make reading him such an absorbing experience: the sense of place; the placing of characters within the landscape as though the reader was looking at a painting or photograph; telling descriptions such as the brushing of a dress against the wall, or the spattering of rain on a window pane; the archaic language; the sense that every encounter between the various characters is significant, and that what is unsaid is often more important than what is said.
A short novel, which deserves to be better known.