Book Review: Far from the Madding Crowd

Just finished ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy. Here’s the review…

The Summary: Young Gabriel falls in love and must helplessly watch as his beloved rejects him and attempts to wreck her life over and over. And over. (Insert any Dashboard Confessional song here.)

The Good: Victorian fiction is witty and satirical in general, i guess. But written by a man, it has a different flavour altogether. Okay, so technically, this was Naturalism, right?- nevermind. Most every chapter begins with a social commentary- then the characters act it out for ten pages or so. The commentary is especially sarcastic at times, but never in a mean way.

At about the halfway point of the book, you can feel the pace picking up and it doesn’t slow down til the last chapter or so. Given the potentially boring nature of the subject, it surprisingly borders on gripping. And, not to give too much away,  i will simply say that the actions of Mr. Boldwood at the climactic Christmas party were remarkably satisfying.

The Bad: I can’t make any technical fuss. I just wish the bad guys were bad guys- everyone was just so chivalrous, it was a little sappy.

Left Dangling: what happened to the Aunt? Did i miss something?

Three quotes:

1. 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.


2. (The dog) …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.

3. Men thin away to insignificance and oblivion quite as often by not making the most of good spirits when they have them as by lacking good spirits when they are indispensable.

The Bottom Line: If you’ve read Austen and Bronte, Hardy needs to be in the mix. This was really good.

2 Comments on “Book Review: Far from the Madding Crowd”

  1. Cara Donahue says:

    On Quote 3: I really like the word choice here: The idea that “men thin away to insignificance” is a progressive thing, as a result of a string of choices that leads down that path, that this wasn’t their original design.

  2. Cara Donahue says:

    Just saw this quote by

    “If I were taking 100% responsibility for the quality of this moment, what would be different?”

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