In a remote corner of early Victorian England, where traditional practices remain untouched by time, Bathsheba Everdene stands out as a beacon of female independence and self-reliance. However, when confronted with three suitors, among them the dashing Sergeant Troy, she shows a reckless capriciousness that threatens the stability of the whole community. Published in 1874, and an immediate best seller, Far From the Madding Crowd established Thomas Hardy as one of Britain's foremost novelists.
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Public Domain (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks
If Thomas Hardy is not exactly one of your favourites among the Nineteenth Century's Literary Greats, the narration of this novel by Jamie Parker will change your mind. Promise.
I loved it. I was struggling to read the book but this narrator has made into a play. I can't praise him enough for bringing it alive for me. All the different characters and their voices. Really enjoyed it.
This wonderful story was narrated to advantage by the wonderful Jamie Parker! How does he manage all of those wonderful accents?! I shall search for titles rendered even more stunning by this son of RADA.
Thomas Hardy is a poet first and foremost. Of this I am glad! His poetic descriptions burst on to the page, bringing nature and its scenery to vibrant life. Colours dance in striking harmony; the anger of the elements ravages crops. We feel it all. We are alternately shocked to the core and cradled by the beauty of his words.
I am enjoying this reading. I was impressed by Jamie Parker's narration, especially when I noticed that he pronounced the 'pint' of 'cuckoo-pint' correctly. However, my faith in his pronunciation had a nasty jolt when he pronounced 'Collect' in Chapter 44 as if it meant to acquire or pick up. As the context makes pretty clear, the Collect is a Christian prayer ('The boy was of the dunce class apparently; the book was a psalter, and this was his way of learning the collect.') Not the worst mistake I've heard in an audiobook by any means, but when I come across errors I always wonder why it isn't possible to get the recordings carefully checked and double-checked to eradicate the mistakes and re-record those passages before release.
"Country tales and voices."
It more than exceeded my expectations. Jamie Parker does the Wessex rustic voices brilliantly. I would happily listen to him reading any books.
I love Hardy's tales.
"A Beautiful Classic, Beautifully Read!"
The problem with having a movie adaptation of a great novel is that many people will never read the novel. In the case of this classic, that is a shame. The story, the characters, the natural setting and the action are all presented in beautiful prose that is rarely heard in contemporary writing. This unabridged release, narrated by the tremendously-talented Jamie Parker, is exquisitely "acted", with each character having their own "voice", and every sentence is phrased in a way that captures the ear and feeds the imagination of the listener. I could not be more pleased with an audiobook, and would have given Parker 6 stars if this were an option!
The prose is beautiful and descriptive and I felt transported to the place and time of the story through the excellent voice acting of Jamie Parker.
Sorry, I couldn't possibly choose just one. The crafting of the story is even-handed and exquisite throughout.
I wouldn't. See my initial comment.
"Charming book, charming reader"
This book is so charming. Hardy is a bit long-winded sometimes but in such a beautiful, clever way that it's hardly minded. How I wish I could find more treasures like this that I haven't yet read. Why don't writers care about the sound of the words and the way they are put together anymore? Why can't writers caress the English language like they once did?
This reader is superb, as well. So much personality and so much difference in voices and accents between the different characters. And he just... he gets it.
Lovely all around!
"A classic come to life"
The narrator makes this book come alive. Each character was so individualized and he has a good singing voice. He's fabulous!. Can't beat Hardy for plot twists and turns.
"Loved it...story and narration"
Jamie Parker is the BEST narrator (I've listened to 190 books. There could be someone better out there, but I have not heard him/her.). His narration made the story even more enjoyable, and the story is riveting in and of itself. Out of curiosity, I listened to the same book read by someone else, and it just did not have the same allure. Highly recommend this particular version.
Loved this book from the first word to the last one! It goes on my short list of all time favorites books.
"Excellent narrator and great performance of a really great book."
This is a fantastic book by Hardy. The characters and the story is so captivating that I had several driveway moment when listening to it. Jamie Parker is one of the best narrators that there it is. His voice and accents are so rich that it enlivens the book even further. Truly it is a pleasure to listen to him.
"A Masterpiece of Culture and Eloquence"
I must say that, with future books, it will be hard not to rate the authors' words and compare them with Thomas Hardy's knowledge of a dictionary and his construction of a sentence. It can be rather simple to narrate the combined works of many characters onto pieces of paper and call it a novel, but Hardy has a lovely style that I'll show presently. In randomly turning to any page in the book I've found the following paragraph: 'At this moment on the ridge, up against the blazing sky, a figure was visible, like the black snuff in the midst of a candle-flame. Then it moved and began to bustle about vigorously from place to place, carrying square skeleton masses, which were riddled by the same rays. A small figure on all fours followed behind. The tall form was that of Gabriel Oak; the small one that of George; the articles in course of transit were hurdles.' Now, if this had been me (or many other authors) I would've said 'Mr Boldwood saw Gabriel Oak and his horse moving hurdles in the hot sun.' See what I mean by eloquence?
As for the story, it is terrific! Gabriel Oak is a loveable man who devotes his life to hard work. Unfortunately, one of his herding dogs happens to chase his flock of ewes off a cliff, so he's left without work and he comes to be employed by Bathsheba, a woman that he falls in love with after she saves his life. I rooted for him the entire time, hoping that she would find some sort of romance with him, but, even after she doesn't, his devotion to her as a concerned employee doesn't stray, though she's being courted by an older gentleman after she plays a trick on him and she ends up marrying a gambling drunkard who doesn't love her in the first place. And at this point, the story's not even halfway through!
Now, when it comes to Jamie Parker's reading of the novel, I found it spot-on! There were several characters with regional accents that he performed incredibly well. His recognition and performance of the author's words was one for the ages. There was only one thing I didn't enjoy about it, at first: his performance was so accurate that, when whispered words were uttered, it was sometimes difficult to hear on my laptop. But this was quickly remedied with the use of headphones, and his performance was enjoyed exponentially more! Well done, sir!
"I am so glad I bought this!"
Once in a very long while, the Daily Deal serves up something terrific. That used to happen a lot more frequently, but in my view, the quality of the daily deal offerings took a precipitous dive off a cliff at the beginning of this year. There seems to be a lot of junk, trash, and books with lousy reviews. However. Far From the Madding Crowd, as read by Jamie Parker, has just made up for a couple of months of bad deals (and by the way, this book is very inexpensive if you buy the Kindle edition and then the audiobook).
What a lovely book. I'm a big Dickens fan, but this is the first time I've read Hardy since high school. There are many similarities to Dickens here: exquisitely-drawn characters, interesting plot, social commentary, particularly on the status of women, beautiful writing. Where Dickens often strays into caricature, however, Hardy avoids that, and in my view, Hardy excels at description. He evokes the landscape so completely and vividly that (yes, it's a cliche, but oh, well) you feel as though you're there. The writing is marvelous. The love story is heartbreaking and compelling, and had me in tears at the end. There is tension and suspense, and they keep the book moving forward. Sometimes you can really tell that Charles Dickens was usually paid by the word. I never felt that with Hardy; each word is carefully considered and the sentences have a beautiful rhythm and structure.
Jamie Parker. You know how it is when you realize you're on to a terrific narrator and you rush to Audible to see what else he's done – and then discover he's done 9 books, several of which are with multiple narrators . . . please, please, PLEASE get this man to do more book narration. His characters are pitch-perfect, he does women as well as he does men, the accents are great, and he has a fine sensibility for the writing and material.
Hardy has a great protagonist in Bathsheba, and he has much to say (though subtly) on the position of women in his time. But he is still a man of his time, and I found this sentence hilarious:
"She was of the stuff of which great men's mothers are made."
I'm heading off on a Thomas Hardy binge and have started The Mayor of Casterbridge as narrated by Anton Lesser.
""In a language which is chiefly made by men""
Devotion, sheep, pastoral
I listened to the book after watching the 2015 movie adaptation. I enjoyed hearing the original story and comparing the differences. The book gives more insight into the background and thoughts of the male characters than the movie. It was fitting to be read by a man.
Jamie Parker's accents for the townspeople were wonderful. Since the book delves into the emotions of the three men pursuing Bathsheba, it was wonderful to have him voice their characters and thoughts.
The scene in the book (that is not in the movie) I found moving takes place when Gabriel is working on the farm for Bathsheba. Gabriel is sheering sheep and Bathsheba is beside him watching and admiring his work. The description of emotions for Gabriel in that scene and the one immediately following are heart gripping.
Since the book tells more about the thoughts of the three men, who love her in very different ways and devoted in different degrees, a "reader" is persuaded to care about Bathsheba in spite of her vanities, careless ways and pride. The "reader" sees her through the eyes of the men as lovely, strong and desirable. If the book were to stop half way through, the "reader" would not have affection for her, but see her as a flirt, strong-willed, capable and sometimes impetuous creature. It is not until later into the novel when the harsh realities of Bathsheba's choices catch up to her and she is humbled underneath it all, that empathy is felt for her and the "reader" truly roots for her to find happiness and her strength again.
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