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Summary

Under the Greenwood Tree is an affectionate and youthful portrait of a world Hardy knew well - village life in 'Wessex' - in which a romantic tale is set against changing circumstances. The traditional feature of local music making performed by the village band and choir is challenged by the modern innovation of organ and organist providing music in the church. Fancy Day, the new, comely school mistress is also an accomplished organist, and these qualities create conflict in the village, especially when the unmarried young vicar and Dick Dewy, a member of the Mellstock parish choir vie for her attention. In this, only his second novel, Hardy presents one of his most gentle and charming pictures.

Public Domain (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about Under the Greenwood Tree

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    4 out of 5 stars

Jamie Parker's narration is one of the best ...

I had tried (and failed) to complete this book with another audible reader, but am delighted to have found Parker's version. His characters have consistent voices, he never mixes them up and, what is more, their voices closely reflect their personality, age and tone (e.g. Parker's gentle Grandfather William is someone I'd have loved to meet!)

The novel interweaves two themes: the "love square" of Fancy Day and her three suitors, and the ushering out of old traditions in rural England. Hardy does this with reference to the natural landscape and the seasons (this shapes the novel's structure) while keeping the narrative tone light with plenty of humour. Because rustic dialogue forms a substantial portion of the book, it takes a good narrator to bring this aspect to life and give it its due. I would have missed so much if I had not had this audio version of "Under the Greenwood Tree"!

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Superbly read

Jamie Parker has got to the essence of this very funny book. His voices are superb.

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Fantastic Narrator

Jamie Parker should narrate all Thomas Hardy audio Books he brings characters to life .

1 person found this helpful

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Superb writing, superb reading!

One of my favourite Thomas Hardy novels. I downloaded this version after being very disappointed with the same excellent book, but read by Robert Hardy. It went straight back!
This version is so, so much better read, thoroughly enjoyable!
Well done Jamie Parker, I will make a note of your name for future Audible purchases, Thank you!

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Excellent narrator

A gentle country portrait rather than gripping storytelling, but don't let that put you off. The writing is sublime; this is Hardy at his best.
For anyone choosing which version to listen to, Jamie Parker is just superb. The one song in the book is so beautifully sung that it will, I guarantee, have you rewinding it to listen to again and again, and humming it to yourself all day. Quite exquisitely beautiful.

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The course of true love never did run smooth!

A charming tale of young love in Hardy"s Wessex,which I enjoyed listening to, having read the novel a couple of times at different ages. The narrator was excellent - interesting to listen to, and capturing the personalities of the characters well in the voices he gave to each of them. Although some dismiss this short novel as merely a forerunner of Hardy's later novels, I enjoy the amusing observations of manners and characters, particularly the villagers' opinions on the new vicar! A thoroughly enjoyable listen!

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  • Jordan Rivers
  • 24-07-15

I'm a Hardy fan but...

This is by far his weakest work. Great narrator though. If you want to read Hardy I would stick to Tess and Two on a Tower and the like.

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  • Drone Boy
  • 14-12-20

Read Like Country Bumkins On Meth

Under The Greenwood Tree is a bit like Hardy's response to George Eliot's Silas Marner. It is definitely one for Hardy fans, but I have always found it a little too folksy for my liking. I also had trouble listening to this performance by Jamie Parker. In the past, I have enjoyed his readings of Hardy novels, Far From the Madding Crowd, for example. Some of the characters he performs here, however, came across as eccentric, and this is a euphemistic way of putting it. I think the trouble may have stemmed from the dominance of dialogue over narration in this book.

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  • F Shaw
  • 31-08-20

Beautiful writing about rural England 1800's

The story, unusual for Hardy, is a happy one, so it is a bit sappy but the portraits of such great characters
is really close up and funny and touching. The reader does the variety of voices and accents very well.

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  • Sylvia Schmidt
  • 24-07-19

I love Tom Hardy Novels...

This one is a bit milder than what Im used to in his novels, but for an early novel it is well wriiten. I loved the voices and the story teller was superb. It played out in my mind like a movie@