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Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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I've finally finished this. I have to say I loved it. I loved the detailed descriptions, Hardy really has a way with words. It was poetic and I found the imagery very vivid. But I also found this a lot more readable and less verbose that say Jane Austen.

 

The characters were well drawn and I found them richly complex, some of them having very deep flaws and yet also redeeming features. I really enjoyed the scene at the malt house. I found a lot of humour in the minor characters.

 

I think the best thing about the book was the vivid imagery, I will select some of my favourites later - I don't have the book to hand at the moment.

The worst thing was that yes the plot dragged in places. However, I can forgive this. The plot never dipped so low that I wanted to give up. The last 80 pages or so had me on the edge of my seat.

 

Yes, that's one of the parts I had difficulties with. I'm no expert on stars and so I don't see any pictures when Hardy is describing the sky though I guess for people who know the stars better this might have been a nice passage.

Were readers of Hardy's time more familiar with the stars or is Hardy an exception knowing the stars so well?

 

I think in those days of no street lighting (I loved the pitch darkness that some of the story takes place in) the night sky would have been much more familiar to your average person. I think it's such a shame that the night sky is so light polluted these days.

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I was going to make a thread about this book, but noticed this thread. I'm not sure if we're allowed to bump old threads so apologies in advance, but I didn't want to create a duplicate.

 

Anyway, I haven't read through all of the posts as I'm only a fifth of the way through the book, but I've noticed that a few people found the book difficult to get through at the beginning.

 

I'm feeling the same way at the moment. I decided to give this book a go after reading through some of Thomas Hardy's poems and falling in love with his style of writing. His writing in the book so far is beautiful, and I've highlighted a few sentences in my kindle which have stood out. However, I'm finding it quite difficult to continue with the novel. The writing is pretty dense, so I can only read a few pages at a time.

 

Is it worth continuing with the book? I think I'd feel guilty if I gave up, simply because of the poetic style it is written in.. but at the same time I'm sort of trudging along. I've had to take a few breaks and read some Terry Pratchett books just to sustain my interest in reading.

Edited by Angury

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I finally finished reading this yesterday and I'm very glad I stuck with it.

My thoughts mirror a lot of others; the book is very hard to get into at the start, but it picks up - both because of the increase in pace and getting used to the writing style.

I am so used to simple writing styles, that I didn't know what to think when I first started this book. It can become a bit dense, and I was only able to read a chapter a day - but I have also created a vocabulary list thanks to this book.

 

Hardy seems to want to create realism by carefully describing correctly all the details that go to make up a realistic setting, rather than just alluding to the overall setting and allowing the reader's imagination to fill it in. When Oak got to the malt house for example it was dark, so he couldn't see how to get in.

This is what took me by surprise - most of the books I read leave a lot to the imagination, which is something I enjoy. This novel was filled with so much detail, I felt like I was reading a textbook at the start. Once the pace picked up though, I began to enjoy the story and was able to admire Hardy's style. If there is one writing style I wish I could write in, it's Hardy's poetic grasp of the English language, and the way he dissects everything using imagery and metaphor.

 

 

Like a lot of people here, I couldn't stand Bathsheba at the start, but now I quite like her character. I like the way she grows throughout the novel, and we see her regret for her previous actions. It was also refreshing to have such a strong and independent female character.

I can't say much about Oak. He seemed like a calm and contemplative guy, but other than that, I felt that I didn't really know him. One character I didn't like though was Boldwood. I realise that it was Bathsheba who began this whole mess with the letter, but that scene where Boldwood forces Bathsheba into promising to marry him while she is in tears is horrible. It sounds more like lust than love. I thought the revelation of his storage of Bathsheba's clothes was well done though, and I did feel a bit of pity for his character.

 

 

Other than that, I can't say there was much of a plotline. It was mainly the writing style that stood out - although personally, I think that sort of style is better left for poetry. Or perhaps his writing style just doesn't fit in with today's day and age where everything is a bit more fast-paced.

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