96. The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy)

Monday, February 15, 2010
A young man, his wife, and their baby daughter stop in at a country fair after travelling through the English countryside searching for work. In a fit of alcoholic rage, the man sells auctions off his wife and daughter to a sailor passing through for a few coins. When he sobers up the next day and realizes what he's done, he searches the nearby towns trying to find them and undo his actions. He fails to find them and vows to give up alcohol. Years later, he's become a succesful businessman and mayor of Casterbridge. When his wife and grown daughter suddenly reappear, his life takes an unexpected turn. Success turns to failure, lives intertwine not always for the better, and everything he's worked so hard for look as though it will crumble before his eyes.

Hardy masterfully weaves a fantastic tale filled with the consequences of secrets and lies, the excesses of alcohol, and the power of love and redemption. I had tried to read this a few years ago but wasn't in the right frame of mind. This time around, however, I was hooked from the opening scene. I found The Mayor of Casterbridge to be a powerful story that had me eagerly looking forward to each spare moment I could spend reading a few pages or even a paragraph of two. I highly recommend picking up a copy and reading it yourself. As for me, I'll be checking out some of Thomas Hardy's other great works: Tess of the D'Ubervilles and Jude the Obscure.


Wandering Coyote said...

Well, kudos to you. I cannot stand Hardy and gave up on Tess part way through because it was just so unreadable. Jude the Obscure was made into a GREAT movie!

Captain Karen said...

His language is definately on the flowery side; part of the reason I couldn't do it the first time. Perhaps I lucked out with this one - his other novels might be torture.

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