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Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge

Narrated by: Anton Lesser
Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (151 ratings)

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Summary

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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

Public Domain (P)2010 Naxos Audiobook
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Mayor of Casterbridge

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.

8 people found this helpful

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A wonderful reading of a Hardy masterpiece.

This is a beautifully and sensitive narration of Hardy's classic tale of one man's sorrowful spiral intonself-destruction.

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliant Narration

Anton Lesser brings this classic Hardy tale to life with his intelligent narration and his skilful employment of accent and dialect. A stunning performance. I have played back some of the best passages again and again. As for the story itself, it is a lovely balance of humour and pathos which explores the human condition. Excellent and highly recommended

3 people found this helpful

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brilliant

There's no doubt it , when you listen to something like this, Thomas Hardy was an exceptionally talented writer, his description of henchards character, is so deep and thorough that you can almost feel like you are henchard himself.
if you like your books to have a emotional effect on you, as well as having something significant to say about human nature, then you ought to be impressed by this.
plus Anton lesser narration is awesome, he really does the book justice.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it

I read this wonderful book 40 years ago, and enjoyed this performance even more. Highly recommended, looking forward to more.

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely loved this book and the narration

What made the experience of listening to Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge the most enjoyable?

The language and structure of this book is so pleasing and rich, particularly the varied accents. Anton Lesser did a brilliant job with this.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I wanted to savour this, an hour at a time.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

I've read this book a few times and always been moved by the genius of Hardy in creating the character of Henchard. Although you could say that at times the tragedy of events are contrived, they are only to build this epic of a story. From the dramatic opening scene to the quiet tragedy of the closing scene the massive character of Henchard dominates this book. The events that seem too much at times; too dramatic, too ironic, have to be thus to contain the huge person that is Henchard.
Anton Lesser's narration is just brilliant . A beautifully modulated voice that demonstrates his great acting abilities in bringing alive both the minor characters and incidents that Hardy excels at and the giant person of Henchard.
Get it. You will enjoy it.

1 person found this helpful

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Most wonderful story ever

No words can praise this audible book sufficiently. Anton lesser is a superbe narrator. As soon as it finished, I listened all over again. You will love it!

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent narration

Anton Lesser is an absolute master of narration. I’ve never felt like this during an audio book before. He completely brought the characters to life and was consistent with accents and tone and character throughout. I enjoyed the book which I’ve not read before. Lots of twists and turns and some sympathetic (if not frustrating) characters

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A Really Good Listen

A great listen and one of my favourite Hardy novels. Atmosphere expertly captured by Anton Lesser's reading.

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  • Tad Davis
  • 17-12-10

Superb

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.

12 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 10-02-12

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • FredC
  • 08-04-18

LOVED the language. well read .

At first I thought it was slow. But then, I got used to the language and the beautiful way Alton Lister brought the characters to life.

2 people found this helpful

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  • GlowWorm
  • 17-11-17

Excellent Narration

This narrator had excellent variation in the number of voices performed. Additionally, he conveyed much of the emotion of the characters, something unusual in an audio book.

Thomas Hardy is a favorite of mine, and this narration did the work full justice

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bonny
  • 03-12-15

Continuing the Hardy Binge, Happily

Okay, Hardy #2 down, another lovely idyll of beautiful writing and narration. As with Far From the Madding Crowd, this book kept me engaged and engrossed, sort of floating along on the lyrical writing, the interesting plot, and Anton Lesser's narration. This is the portrait of a deeply flawed man, an inherently selfish and boorish businessman and politician (can you say Republican field 2016? There are parallels) who is not without his redemptive qualities. I enjoyed it tremendously. Lesser's narration is marvelous . . . as with the works of Dickens, there is an embarrassment of narrative riches, but you certainly can't go wrong with this one. With the "get the narration for $2.99 when you buy the Kindle book" deal, and the Kindle book costs 99 cents, there really is no excuse for not giving it a try!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Reader Book
  • 09-06-14

Classic Hardy

What made the experience of listening to Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge the most enjoyable?

The reader was excellent. And the story was tight and true to his development of the characters.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge?

The ending.

What about Anton Lesser’s performance did you like?

Excellent depiction of each character.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Henchard's inevitable return to his beginning.

Any additional comments?

Hardy is not optimistic about human nature or life but quite realistic. So much of his depiction of us human beings still rings true--a classic.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stacy
  • 25-02-12

Delightful Classic

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Merlin
  • 27-01-19

Classic Hardy - a great novel

I studied this novel in school 45 years ago. Although I remembered the basic story and some details, the novel and the writing is so rich that I could have been reading it for the first time. The story is excruciatingly tragic, and possibly Hardy could be criticized here, as in some of his other novels, for a certain amount of gratuitous sadness. Even so, it's one of the great novels of the 19th century. The narrator, Aton Lesser, is, as always, superb.

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  • Lora
  • 05-11-18

Excellent Book, Hard to understand the Narrator

Loved the story but very hard to understand the narrator at times... very strong accents. but other than that good book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-08-18

Wonderful sotry

I am getting hooked on Thomas Hardy. This is my third book and it was a truly wonderful one at that. The narrator, Anton Lesser, was fabulous - doing all the voices. Looking forward to the next Hardy novel.