Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel. It centers on the lives of five characters: Gabriel Oak, Bathsheba Everdene, Mr. Boldwood, Sgt. Troy, and Fanny Robin. The plot involves love, loyalty, death, and betrayal, and all this is delivered to us in Hardy's most eloquent prose. The images of character and nature are painted for our mind's eye with sublime style.
Public Domain (P)2015 Victorian Classic Audiobooks
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"Evocative rendition of a classic"
This is a classic book with a fascinating plot, a heroine who is beset by not two but three suitors, all of them very different. The choices she makes lead determine their fates, along with their own vices and virtues, but it's all brilliantly crafted and makes for great reading. The portrayal of life in a country town in the west of England is equally as much a reason for reading this. I enjoyed this much more than any other Hardy novel.
And in particular, this particular version has the reader using a West Country accent that adds a terrific layer of local colour to the experience. When used for the voice of the narrator, I did find it awkward, since Hardy would hardly have spoken that way but would have used the polished tones of an educated man. But when speaking the various characters, and most particularly the assorted set of country bumpkins who make up a sort of chorus of local simple folk and play a fairly important role in the story, the reader is dazzlingly perfect. I confess that with the heavy accent I couldn't understand most of what the country folk were saying, but it hardly mattered. The main characters get a lighter dose of the same accent and are all perfectly clear. An enthusiastic 5-star rating for Mr Hynes' performance on this book.
"Hardy is not always tough going. Wonderful!!"
Not necessarily better, the feel of a good book is hard to beat. However the audio version has it's own benefits. It can be listened to anywhere and hearing Hardy's wonderful use of language can transport you back to a simpler time during a boring commute.
Everything. I've always loved the story from the very first line.
Gabriel Oak. I think the reader portrays him as Hardy wrote him, as a strong, dependable, loyal man.
Early on when Oak declares his love for Bathsheba and says “I shall do one thing in this life-one thing certain-this is, love you, and long of you, and keep wanting you till I die.”
The book is bursting with memorable quotes but this one stands out for me.
If you are one of those people that thought of gloom whenever Hardy was mentioned then Far from the madding crowd is the perfect cure for you. While it has its serious side its written with such style and humor that its little wonder that its popularity has stood the test of over 140 years.
A bargain at 14 dollars.
"Hardy at his best!"
This is my favorite Hardy novel. I was prompted by the recent film version to revisit the book. How glad I am that I did. To hear the book as it was written is to do full justice to it. Every word and syllable has it's propose and place and the language used transports the listener to a simpler time and place. The insight and understanding of the characters is amazing and each becomes a living being.
The book is enhanced enormously by the reader. He clearly understands Hardy very well and acts out the book perfectly. In chapter eight, for example, there is a scene in the malthouse consisting of ten or twelve different characters. Every one is performed distinctly each with it's own personality. Wonderful!
The story itself is very engaging and keeps the attention transfixed all the way through. Also, there are some very funny parts, chapter eight as mentioned above being one.
I highly recommend this version and can't think of a better way to spend fourteen or so hours.
"Hooked on Thomas Hardy"
A good story.
Thomas Hardy takes every day life and situations and turns them into a story that, like Far from the Madding Crowd, is spellbinding. This is a good story, told in a good way of the type that make you glad you read them. This story will resonate long after it's been put away - what more can I ask from a good book.
This narration was very good.
This book is classic so the name cannot change. Madding does not have significance, but the title does say this story is likely not taking place in a cosmopolitan environment.
I recommend this audiobook.
"If you can understand this narrator..."
I only listened for about 2 hours. I thought I might "adapt" to this narrator, but never could understand anything he said. Will have to spring for another version, as am eager to listen to this book.
"Droll, dynamic and deeply heartfelt."
Far from the Madding Crowd ranks as one of my favorite audiobooks. I'm won over by Thomas Hardy's humor, accessibility and wisdom. Tadhg Hynes' delivery is an unalloyed pleasure as he portrays the good (and not so good) town folk of Weatherbury.
I love the wit and exuberance of Hardy's writing. It lends warmth to his compassionate critique of the constraints placed upon women.
Gabriel Oak's steadfastness and unassuming self-respect is a healing force to those in his circle. Tadhg Hynes imbues each character with special cadence and color.
I found the concluding chapters deeply satisfying. In addition, the "Greek Chorus" of the townspeople weaves throughout the book, giving great pleasure throughout.
I'm deeply grateful that Audible.com made this recording available. The combined artistry of Thomas Hardy and Tadhg Hynes brings rural life of Southwest England in the late 1800's to glowing life. I look forward to listening to this fine book many times, and will seek out more books narrated by Tadhg Hynes.
I listened to this novel after reading Hardy's later masterpieces Tess and Jude the Obscure, and was surprised at how strange and subversive it is despite ( or in part due to) Hardy's appropriation of melodramatic tropes and the kind of Victorian sensation tropes Mary Elizabeth Braddon helped popularize. Bathsheba is part feminist heroine, part masochistic participant in male domination, and even her ostensibly happy marriage to Gabriel at the end can't erase the memory of the sadomasochism, fetishistic obsession and corpse-loving that precedes it., The plot is remarkably rich and constantly surprising (yes, coincidences abound), and Hardy's writing is always compelling. What surprised me was how much this novel has in common with those of Braddon and Wilkie Collins, underrated novelists who put sensational designs in the service of slyly subversive narratives.
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