Far From the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

Paperback, 1990

Status

Available

Publication

Quality Papeback Book Club (1990), Edition: Book Club (BCE/BOMC)

Description

'I shall do one thing in this life - one thing for certain - that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die.'Gabriel Oak is only one of three suitors for the hand of the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene. He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers theterrible consequences of an inconstant heart.Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to give the name of Wessex to the landscape of south-west England, and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the story both upholds and questionsrural values with a startlingly modern sensibility. This new edition retains the critical text that restores previously deleted and revised passages.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
Thomas Hardy is one of those authors whose works I do enjoy — but grudgingly. His strong descriptive powers, well-written characters, and interesting plots are all points in his favor. But there is something dark running in the vein below, a grimness that I find disturbing. As the back of this
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audiobook copy of Far From The Madding Crowd would have it, Hardy's sense of inevitable human tragedy was already manifesting itself in this tale.

Far From The Madding Crowd tells the story of Bathsheba Everdene, a beautiful and independent young woman who is sought by three very different suitors. Gabriel Oak is the first man to fall in love with her, and after her rejection he falls upon hard times and is forced to seek work as a shepherd. Of course it is Bathsheba who eventually hires him. Her second suitor is one Farmer Boldwood, a moody and passionate man who is awakened to Bathsheba's charms by a foolish Valentine's Day card she sends him, quite in jest. And the third is a dashing officer, Sergeant Francis Troy, who is as captivating and handsome as he is selfish.

Hardy really takes the time to set up his characters, and they are all very well written. Bathsheba in particular is a fascinating creation. In some ways she is quite a little feminist, having no inducement to the marriage state in the abstract that would tempt her to seize the chance when it is offered her. And after she catches her bailiff stealing, Bathsheba is determined to run her inherited farm herself — an unprecedented act for a woman in that time. But Hardy was something of a misogynist, and often peppers his narrative with derogatory comments about the female sex. One such example is this:

"'It was not exactly the fault of the hut,' she observed in a tone which showed her to be that novelty among women — one who finished a thought before beginning the sentence which was to convey it."

Or this:

"When women are in a freakish mood, their usual intuition, either from carelessness or inherent defect, seemingly fails to teach them this, and hence it was that Bathsheba was fated to be astonished today."

Everything sensible and strong and intelligent about Bathsheba — and she is all of these things, despite her many faults — is presented as an aberration in her sex. I don't like to judge works by the standards of a different time, but I certainly was occasionally annoyed with this misogyny. Other times, once I understood Hardy was like that, it amused more than offended me.

Hardy's deep cynicism is not just directed toward women. God comes in for a fair share of the blame; Boldwood's disastrous encounters with Troy are called "Heaven's persistent irony" toward him. It is the gargoyles on the church, monstrosities sanctioned by religion, that are responsible for the horrific accident that disfigures Fanny's grave. Because of this mutilation, Troy's half-formed good resolutions produced by Fanny's death are instantly dashed, and the fault laid at Heaven's door:

"To turn about would have been hard enough under the greatest providential encouragement; but to find that Providence, far from helping him into a new course, or showing any wish that he might adopt one, actually jeered his first trembling and critical attempt in that kind, was more than nature could bear."

Apparently it is God's fault for not preventing this accident from occurring, for not helping this near-penitent on his new road. Indeed, it is almost as if God wants Troy to be damned and takes active steps to ensure that it is so. This is classic Hardy.

And yet religion is not portrayed in a uniformly bad light; Gabriel is observed by Bathsheba in the very act of kneeling in prayer, in direct contrast to her agitated and rebellious frame of mind. The reader is left with the idea that this bedtime prayer is a ritual of Gabriel's, and that it has a not inconsiderable share in helping him face his troubles calmly and with dignity. The focus here is on the man, however, and not the God to whom he is praying.

From the first Hardy sets up his characters on a large stage, not so much in their provincial surroundings but by the literary references he uses to describe them. When Gabriel Oak first sees Bathsheba from a distance, he is pictured as "Milton's Satan" watching Eve from a bird's-eye view. When Bathsheba arouses Boldwood's interest, he is compared to Adam awakening from his sleep to behold Eve. Frank Troy is called a "juggler of Satan" by Boldwood, who is then described as "an unhappy Shade in the Mournful Fields by Acheron." Other literary references abound, especially when Hardy describes Gabriel's slow intellectual development and the titles he studies (among them Paradise Lost, Pilgrim's Progress, and Robinson Crusoe). The reader is given to understand that these few titles have a profound effect on Oak and change him from the morally pliable man of the opening chapters to something of a solid rock, dependable and upright in all he does.

Despite the darker themes, Hardy is not all doom and gloom. His sense of humor is most often displayed in the rustic country folk of Wessex, whose mannerisms and foibles are treated with fond indulgence. One character, Joseph Poorgrass, suffers from what he calls "the multiplying eye" — a condition that only assails him in taverns when he's had a bit too much to drink. The relationships among these country folk are also portrayed in a comical light; one instance is the way the worthies of the village try to calm the affronted maltster by agreeing he is the oldest man they know. Young Cainy Ball's breathless recital of what he had seen in Bath is a small masterpiece of comedy, as he chokes and sprays his listeners with crumbs, and is remonstrated for his careless breathing and eating habits. Hilarious!

"'Now, Cainy!' said Gabriel, sternly. 'How many more times must I tell you to keep from running so fast when you be eating? You'll choke yourself some day, that's what you'll do, Cain Ball.'
'Hok-hok-hok!' replied Cain. 'A crumb of my victuals went the wrong way — hok-hok!, That's what 'tis, Mister Oak! And I've been visiting to Bath because I had a felon on my thumb; yes, and I've seen — ahok-hok!'"


In addition to the funny parts, there are some insightful and deftly written passages, like these:

"The suddenness was probably more apparent than real. A coral reef which just comes short of the ocean surface is no more to the horizon than if it had never been begun, and the mere finishing stroke is what often appears to create an event which has long been potentially an accomplished thing."

"A man's body is as the shell; or the tablet, of his soul, as he is reserved or ingenuous, overflowing or self-contained. There was a change in Boldwood's exterior from its former impassibleness; and his faceshowed that he was now living outside his defences for the first time, and with a fearful sense of exposure. It is the usual experience of strong natures when they love."


I listened to this on audiobook published by Tantor Media and read by John Lee. I very much enjoyed his narration, though I did find the lengthy descriptions of nature to drag a bit. Lee's character voices are excellent, with the exception of the female characters; a deep-voiced man just can't create a believably feminine voice.

I don't think I will ever enthusiastically recommend Hardy; he isn't an author whose works can really be loved, at least not by me. But they do have a quality about them that invites contemplation, mainly of the flaws of humankind and the apparently indifferent God reigning over the chaos we make of our lives. It's a different perspective for me, and one that I find deeply unattractive — and yet fascinating, in a grim sort of way. Hardy will never be a comfort read for me, but he does provoke thought, if not exactly admiration.
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LibraryThing member gypsysmom
I talked my work book club into reading this for our May read. I already know one member doesn't care for it but I'm interested in seeing how the rest feel. I personally loved it and I thought it had a more hopeful ending than some of the other Hardy that I have read. When I finished reading the
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book I sighed, mostly a happy sigh for the ending but a little bit sad because now the book is over. My husband, who read a lot of Hardy when he was young, said he couldn't remember anything about the book now but it probably was rather dark like all his books. I told him that in this one Hardy seemed to have overcome his usual pessimism.

Gabriel Oak is a young farmer when he first sees Bathsheba Everdene. She is coming to stay with her aunt who is a neighbour of Gabriel's. Gabriel is quite taken by Bathsheba and he asks her to marry him. She declines saying that she has nothing and he is on his way up in the world and should have a wife who would help him achieve his goals. Soon after the tables turn. Gabriel loses everything he has and Bathsheba inherits her uncle's farm near Weatherbury. Fortune brings them together again with Gabriel working for Bathsheba. However, since Gabriel now has no prospects he cannot hope to marry her but he does everything he can to make sure her farm prospers. A neighbouring farmer, Mr. Boldwood, takes notice of Bathsheba and also proposes to her. She doesn't turn him down outright and indicates she might accept his offer in the future. Then along comes Sargeant Troy who grew up in Weatherbury. He is a dashing, good looking soldier and Bathsheba is swept off her feet. She marries Troy but soon regrets her decision. She also regrets how she treated Mr. Boldwood. Troy disappears in circumstances that make it appear he has died. Boldwood again asks Bathsheba to marry him when she is legally able and this time Bathsheba agrees even though she is honest with him that she does not love him. Then Troy reappears while Boldwood is throwing a Christmas party. Boldwoood shoots Troy and kills him. He is sentenced to be hung but after his neighbours petition for clemency his death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. Oak is finally rewarded for his patient love and support of Bathsheba and they marry.

Hardy's descriptions of the countryside and the farming operations are so vivid that I could picture them exactly. Some of the scenes that really stood out for me were the storm on the night of the harvest celebration and the sheep-shearing scene. Perhaps having grown up on a farm that, although more modern still carried out those essential tasks, made it easier for me. It will be interesting to see if the other members of my book club who, for the most part, are urban raised felt the same way.
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LibraryThing member jayne_charles
I was made to read this in English Literature at school when I was 14. Absolutely hated it, so full of flowery language that I skipped whole sections and completely missed the story. I came back to it when attempting to read through the BBC Big Read top 200 at the age of 34. I really wasn't looking
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forward to it, but of course this time round I loved it. Yes, Hardy is quite verbose, but this is basically a very good story, with characters you can warm to. At the age of 14 I was made to write an essay on whether or not Gabriel Oak is a too-good-to-be-true caricature. Asked that question now, I would say yes of course he is... and I don't care a bit.
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LibraryThing member TerriS
I really enjoyed this! It was much lighter than "Tess" -- at least for me! And even had some bits of humor in it, which surprised & pleased me :)
LibraryThing member sometimeunderwater
I’m still working my way through Hardy’s novels one-by-one, having purchased a vintage set off eBay after a few late-night drinks. This one was less depressing (Jude) and less epic (Tess) than Hardy’s best. But still a wonderful read, with caddish baddies and homely goodies. And the early
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twist with the sheep is better than the later twist with the marriage.
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LibraryThing member fueledbycoffee
The Moral of the Story: If you marry a jerk, make sure he cant swim
LibraryThing member crashmyparty
It's been a few days since I finished Far From The Madding Crowd but life has been crazy so I haven't had the time to write this review, which is unlike me because I usually make time. Oh well, here we go anyway...

My first experience with Hardy came from Tess of the d'Urbervilles, which completely
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surprised me. I loved it. But it had been a while since then so I opened this one without a great deal of expectation despite the 'classic' status. After finding the first couple of chapters a little slow, general setting the scene type chapters, by the time we met Bathsheba again on her own farm I was really enjoying it.

Bathsheba Everdene is spirited and independent and fiercely determined to be able to run her uncle's farm after firing the stealing bailiff (manager). This was the part of her I most admired. She cared about the farm and her employees, she was resourceful and clever - I hadn't realised that female characters like her popped up in literature from the 1800s. What let me down was her stupidity when it came to men (although I realise without this there may have been no story!)

Gabriel Oak is our other main character in this story, and in him I can find few faults. His loyalty to Bathsheba may be considered a bit extreme but at least he wasn't crazy like Farmer Boldwood. No matter Gabriel's feelings, he put them aside to do his work and to build a friendship with Bathsheba that is perhaps one of my favourite literary friendships. He was the only one who would be completely honest with her and she respected his opinion even if she didn't always like it. What progressed seemed very natural, unlike her romances with Sergeant Troy and poor infatuated Farmer Boldwood, who I felt sorry for but really needed to just let go. He wanted her because he felt he deserved her, he loved her but without taking into account her feelings on the matter. There was no foundation for either of these romances like there was between her and Gabriel.

Hardy writes a great story although some of his description can get a bit tedious, I guess he just liked to set his scene. I really enjoyed the supporting characters in this novel as well as Bathsheba and Gabriel and I think it is a great addition to anyone's library.
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LibraryThing member ToniFGMAMTC
Sometimes when I'm reading a classic, I don't understand everything or feel the emotions. That wasn't so with this one. Admittedly, I may not be feeling the correct emotions still. I didn't read this in school or study the meaning of anything (I just sped on through) so I may totally be wrong in
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what I got from it. Oh well. I had a good time reading.

In the beginning, I actually laughed out loud a few times. Was it meant to be funny? Hell if I know, but Gabriel Oak is such an awesome character. No matter what happens, he just keeps pushing steady forward in life. Bathsheba Everdene is such a girl. She has three men sniffing around, and of course she picks the looser. And the one semi-holding the #2 spot is a psycho stalker. Then, there's Oak just over there being all normal and moving on up in life while all this drama is going on. Some parts are probably meant to be sad, but I wasn't sadden a bit. I was just waiting to see what craziness these people would come up next. Ahh, good times.

I'll definitely be checking out more Thomas Hardy books in the future.
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LibraryThing member nigeyb
It's a classic innit? It really is though. I'd forgotten just how good this is. The best thing is the way it evokes rural life in the West Country in the late 18th century. Marvellous and, unusually for Hardy, with a feel good ending.
LibraryThing member Clara53
I have no idea why this book did not impress me quite as much as Hardy's "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" or "Mayor of Casterbridge". After all, all the elements of a solid drama were there: a vulnerability of a beautiful woman precariously balanced against her stoicism, the unrequited love, sudden
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passion sprung as a result of a silly whim, tragic denouement for some and happy ending for others, intriguing insights into the human nature by the author...

Bathsheba Everdeen and Gabriel Oak are the two co-protagonists, while Boldwood and Troy seem to be secondary characters that, to me, appear on the scene only to offset Bathsheba's weaknesses. Though Bathsheba is at the center of it all and, for a woman of that era, is certainly a redoubtable personality, Gabriel Oak seems to be the most positive and appealing character out of the four. Hardy dwells on the village life of the area, going into detailed description of nature and the colorful local characters - whose life, though "far from the madding crowd", gets suddenly disrupted by the unpredictable and volatile events. And yet, somehow, for me, neither the plot nor the deliverance of the narrative were at the level of Hardy's two aforementioned novels.
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LibraryThing member Gail.C.Bull
There are a few classic writers who had a gift for seeing through the cultural norms of their own times and captured people's humanity without judgement. Thomas Hardy is one of those writers. In this story of three suitors vying for the affection of Bathsheba Everdene, he shines a light into the
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different dynamics that can exist in romantic relationships and asks us, "what does a good relationship actually look like?" This is an uncommon love story which feels relevant and modern in spite of being written 150 years ago.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
The main character of this 19th century British classic is Bathsheba Everdene, an independent woman who through an inheritance gains ownership of a farm. Bathsheba is feisty, smart and both willing and able to succeed in a man's world. That is until she falls in love with Sargeant Troy, a womanizer
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and overall scoundrel. This book could be a 19th century version of 'Why Women Choose the Wrong Men'. Although the language and the setting make this a classic, the personalities and the motivations were very much relevant to today's times.

I both listened and read this book - great narration by Nathaniel Parker (the Artemis Fowl narrator) who gives a stellar performance of the quirky rural characters in this book. This is only the 2nd Thomas Hardy that I've read, but I've enjoyed them both. Great author.
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LibraryThing member dawsong
Hardy, Thomas
Far From the Madding Crowd

Fiction
This classic starts off in the usual ho-hum way of introducing a main character through a description of his lineage, how he came to be where we find him, and the background of his present occupation. Don't get complacent. Both the fate of the main
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character in Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust and the devastating beginning of Ian McEwan's Enduring Love could have been inspired by what befalls Gabriel Oak in these first few pages. While Hardy's work is dense with tragedy, it is the tragedy of being human, not of being a victim. Devastations are unleashed by moments of pique. All of the drama takes place without props outside on English lanes evoking a universality to the pain of being human and the realization that we can all be victimized by our own emotions. Hardy's prose captures landscapes, weather, and the emotional palettes of his characters with equal aplomb. Sharply pin-pointed prose reaches and awakens places in the psyche possibly rendered dormant by exposure to much duller fare. Two chapters appropriately named "Storm" and "Rain" stand out as examples of Hardy's incredible ability to describe weather. If you like weather to be part of your reading experience, M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series provides that, along with great characters and cozy mysteries to be solved. If you like unrelenting suffering, you will like Joyce Carol Oates' We Were the Mulvaneys, or the classic by A. J. Cronin, Hatter's Castle. Available on dvd: A Handful of Dust, Enduring Love, Hamish Macbeth, We Were the Mulvaneys, Far From the Madding Crowd (classic), and the Masterpiece Classic remake of Far From the Madding Crowd.
Recommended March 2014
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LibraryThing member jq09cn
All the story describe a shepherd. Gabriel Oak,whose love for Bathsheba is quiet and steady .He still loves Bathsheba from begin to the end .Before they didi not get together ,but at the end they get married .So what event makes them get married at last is the most important event .Oka loves
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Bathsheba ,but she did not love him before ,and she gets married with a handsome young soldier Troy.Before Troy met Bathsheba,he had a fiancee,who is Troy’s most love person .But when they have a wedding , the bride was late ,so Troy canceled their wedding
After Troy and Bath sheba get married .Troy see that girl again ,but that girl died at the second day ,so Troy very sad ,and fall into river .Every body think he is died .So Bathsheba get married with a middle-aged man Boldwood ,who has never been in love before . .On their wedding ,Troy appears.So Bathsheba does not want get married with Boldwood .It makes Boldwood very angry , and he kills Troy. The result is Troy died and Blodwood go to prison.
At the end, Bathsheba’s love is Dak , only he accompany with she .So they get married
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LibraryThing member booklove2
Always trying to catch up on those books being sourced for movies/TV (there are dozens on that list right now... that I WANT to read. sigh.)

Such a contrast to Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Wouldn't Tess wish she were Bathsheba Everdene? Other than some undisclosed things that happened before the book
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started, it seems as though Bath has had a pretty easy life compared to the misery that Tess suffers at every turn. Having three guys vying for your attention doesn't seem like such a bad problem compared to Tess. And other than that, some corn possibly getting ruined from the rain. And sheep drama. I can appreciate Hardy's layered prose in this one, but I think I'm on Tess's team. Bathsheba is a great heroine but which of three suitors she ends up with isn't the best premise for a book that suits me. It's sad to lose the Bathsheba in the first few pages, seeing her improperly for the time she was in, lean back on her horse to avoid low branches (let alone not riding side saddle.) This Bathsheba turns into a suitor juggler and then wishes for the time when she didn't have to deal with all of it. I think reading about Bathsheba's backstory would have helped relate to her. Maybe I would have liked this one better if I read it before meeting Tess. You can't beat Thomas Hardy when it comes to great pastoral prose though.
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LibraryThing member LyzzyBee
Bought 1980s, read for the Hardy Reading Project

A truly amazing book: rich, beautiful writing and a page turner. A big step forward in his writing, I felt. Proud Bathsheba thinks she can outwit love but is floored bu it; her suitors have very different fates from one another and the landscape, the
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stars and the animals provide a wonderful backdrop. The local farmhands are done with a lighter touch; still comical but not so laboured, somehow, and there are some beautiful scenes, for example Gabriel's observation of the movement of the stars. My favourite quotation was another bird-related one: "No Christmas robin detained by a window-pane ever pulsed as did Bathsheba now" (p. 247).

I studied this for O level but had forgotten the story, although certain rather random scenes and descriptions, such as Gabriel's face and the round hill he stands upon, were very familiar. Truly a privilege and a joy to re-read this book.
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LibraryThing member Stevil2001
I'm still uncertain about the ending of this novel. Gabriel Oak seems to "win" the heart of Bathsheba in the end, but I'm not sure he deserves to... nor am I certain that Bathsheba deserves to be won. But I'm okay with that: Hardy's depiction of characters falling in and out of relationships, with
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all the strange, arbitrary reasons that go along with that, ring true for me: these people make bad decisions, but believable bad decisions. There are some issues I have with the character of Bathsheba (she seems a little too clueless on occasion), and Gabriel verges into the creepy from time to time, but Boldwood and Troy ring all too true. To top it all off, there are just some great sequences: Gabriel's cross-country pursuit of who he thinks a horse thief is gripping, and Troy's seduction of Bathsheba (complete with twirling his fabulous sword!) is fraught with sexual tension for a Victorian novel, or even a modern one.
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LibraryThing member Scriberpunk
This is the story of a shepherd who gets turned down by the love of his life, loses his livelihood in a tragic accident, becomes virtually destitute, finds himself working for the aforesaid love of his live where he watches in almost mute desperation as she first becomes entangled with the local
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top man before falling for and marrying a cad and bounder who deserts her (when one day the cad and bounder’s own true love reappears pregnant with his child only to die the same night) by faking his own death and leaving the shepherd’s true love once again entangled with the local top man, but then the cad and bounder reappears at an inappropriate moment and gets shot by the local top man who is then condemned to death but has the sentence transmuted to life imprisonment on account of insanity, and so the shepherd gets to marry the love of his life.

The thing is the honest, hard working shepherd; the flighty, beautiful woman; the cad and the bounder; the mentalist top man – they are all sympathetically written and likeable. The supporting cast all have lives of their own and behave normally and both have, and behave in, character. And they have fun. Quite often. Their lives happen whilst the plot unfolds. Not because of the plot, or to make the plot move on. I like these people. And the place. Not that I’d want to live there: Too much cider.

The three tragic episodes – the death of the girl, the accident that puts an end to the shepherds start in life and the murder of the cad and bounder - are all told in such a way as to make you feel the tragedy emotionally, to care, to connect. It is a nicely told tale.

And it has a happy ending. The newly married couple send ‘a bit of something’ down to the pub so the locals can have a piss up. What more could you ask from life?
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LibraryThing member lorraineh
Well
Its a fable in my opinion that says the 'steady reliable' man will win a fair maidens hand in the long run.
It reads and feels like a penguin classic novel. I can imagine all the 15 yrs old pawing over the language and clever pieces of prose.
Me - well I thought it was ok but I must say that the
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latter third of the book I even enjoyed.
Its perfect for those of you who like a clever use of language and lots of smart descriptions. If you like me who are so keen on such things then it can be hard work at times
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LibraryThing member mrbandings
Although written in 1874 this is a very modern novel as a strong women runs a farm and her life surrounded by suitors.
LibraryThing member carmelitasita29
I love the way Thomas Hardy writes, so lush and evocative. This book is about a young woman with a very great sense of herself and loses it in a fit of emotion, and the man who loves her steadfastly and honestly with no strings attached. Wonderful book. I could read Hardy all day long.
LibraryThing member Renz0808
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy centers on young Bathsheba Everdene, a strong fiery independent woman who has come into the good fortune of inheriting a farm in Hardy’s Wessex. She will not allow herself to become dependent on a man and resolves to take care of her own farm and
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business. Bathsheba is also (of course) extremely beautiful and she knows this but is also very inexperienced in the ways of love and for the most part men. She is courted by three very different men, the first being Gabriel Oaks, who has the misfortune of losing his own farm in an accident, he contents himself by becoming the main shepherd on Bathsheba’s farm and helping her in any way that he can even though she has declared to him that she does not love him or can never marry him because of the position he is in. The second man is Mr. Boldwood an older man, who owns the farm next to Bathsheba, he allows himself to become completely enamored with her and she becomes his only reason for living. The last man is a Sergeant Troy, who is young and very like Bathsheba in temperament and personality. These three men set the pace for the rest of the novel that takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster of plot twists and sub plots.

This is the first Thomas Hardy novel that I have read and I was not sure what to expect. I have read very mixed reviews of his work and I was not sure how I was going to like this book. I have to admit that I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I think the strongest aspect of this book is the fact that all of the main characters have faults that readers can identify with even to this day. Bathsheba is really a woman before her time, she just wants to make a mark on the world and she is very ambitious and her main fault is her vanity. She is really like almost every woman I know, she just wants to be told that she is beautiful but at the same time she wants to be independent. It is easy to imagine her and identify with her; she really is one of the most honest characters I have read in a long time. Similarly, the three main men who compete for Bathsheba’s attentions all have their faults. Gabriel Oaks is probably the most honest, hardworking, steadfast man in the novel but at the same time he is also a little boring and not super cultured. Mr. Boldwood takes his passion for Bathsheba to desperate levels, and is subject to dark and changing moods. As for Sergeant Troy, he is a rake, scoundrel and at times a cad.

Overall, at times the story could move slowly but I thought that for the most part it flowed well and kept my attention. I will be looking forward to reading later novels by Thomas Hardy to compare with this one.
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LibraryThing member Luli81
Another great discovery ! I loved this classic, it's different from what I read before. A good portrait of the English Society, its stiff and untolerant rules against a patient soul but with a will unvincible. One of the best of the year!
LibraryThing member mritchie56
Hardy's happy book (relatively speaking). The story of the lovely Bathsheba Everdene, the three men who love her, and the unhappiness in all their lives until she finally winds up with the man we knew she should have been with all along. It's a novel of character, but not of psychological
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insight--it's frustrating to never really get inside these characters to know why they're doing what they're doing, especially Bathsheba who seems completely a character of whim without thought. As usual, Hardy's writing is solid, especially his descriptions of the physical setting. Sad but not unutterably tragic like some of his books.
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LibraryThing member hemlokgang
I love Thomas Hardy's writing, as long as I continually remind myself to remain in the period. Bathsheba, the "heroine", as the author refers to her, is not exactly a role model for women of any period in my opinion. Of course, the men are driven mad, literally, by her spirit and beauty, and she
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remains insensitive, flighty, and totally impulse driven until the climax when she miraculously sees the error of her ways. I really like Gabriel Oak, my hero.
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