Michael Henchard, drunk at a country fair, sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas. The following day, in despair and remorse, he forswears alcohol and sets out to redeem himself. In time, he becomes a respected merchant and eventually the mayor of the town. But Fate is not to be so easily appeased, and Henchard finds his past actions resonate through and destroy his plans for the future.
One of the greatest novels in the English language, The Mayor of Casterbridge sees Thomas Hardy at his best, bringing landscape and richly imagined characters to life, and setting the hope of love against the forces of Providence.
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This was a very pleasant surprise. I have never read Hardy and was expecting a stodgy Victorian sermon. What I got was a powerful, at times overwhelming book. The character of Henchard must be one of the strongest in literature and his fall, rise and fall again is related in a fast moving and sometimes very modern way. The narration of Anton Lesser is as always superb and add's greatly to the enjoyment of this great book. Highly recommended and I will be keen to try more Thomas Hardy.
The language and structure of this book is so pleasing and rich, particularly the varied accents. Anton Lesser did a brilliant job with this.
No. I wanted to savour this, an hour at a time.
If Anton Lesser ever gets tired of narrating Dickens, he can always do Thomas Hardy. His reading of this (very) sad book is superb: well-paced, resonant, and brimming with voices. He even manages to get some humor in -- not over Hardy's head or behind his back, just bringing out a quality in some of the dialogue that I totally missed when I first read this book many years ago.
Of course, this being Hardy, nothing works out the way you want for the characters you care about. His main character, Henchard -- the Mayor of the title (or one of them, at any rate) -- is a morally complex man, someone who really wants to do the right thing but is often overtaken by his own passions, coincidence, or bad luck. (At one point near the end of the story, he starts out to do something really nasty, then changes his mind and decides to the right thing, but by sheer accident the nasty thing happens anyway.)
You either like Hardy or you don't. If you like him, you'll probably like Anton Lesser's interpretation as well. I really do hope Lesser takes on a few more of Hardy's books.
A very well-narrated version of a compelling classic about a tragically flawed man who turns out to be his own worst enemy at every turn.
"Hardy has weathered less well than I expected."
This was one of my favourite books as a young man,and I downloaded it expecting to relish it as I did 30 years ago.
Well,although the story still holds the attention,it seems that Hardy and I have grown older.
The portrait of English country life and morals in the early 19th century is as interesting and detailed as ever, but the plot is too predictable.
The narration is excellent,with the narrator switching easily and convincingly between male and female voices,between characters with rustic,rural accents and those with more sophisticated speech.
I still intend to download more of Hardys' books,they are after all,classics.
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