Tuesday, August 25

Book Review: Far From the Madding Crowd

Title: Far From a Madding Crowd

Author: Thomas Hardy

Pages: 318

Summary: Far from the Madding Crowd is perhaps the most pastoral of Hardy’s Wessex novels. It tells the story of the young farmer Gabriel Oak and his love for and pursuit of the elusivr Bathesheba Everdene, whose wayward nature leads her to both tragedy and true love.

It tells of the dashing Sergeant Troy whose rakish philosophy of life was ‘…the past was yesterday; the future, tomorrow; never, the day after’. And lastly, of the introverted and reclusive gentleman farmer, Mr. Boldwood, whose love fills him with ‘…a fearful, sense of exposure’, when he first sets eyes on Bathsheba.

The background to this compelling story is the majesty of the Wessex countryside in all its moods, contriving to make it one of the most English of great English novels.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book really didn’t do much for me. I adored the lovely, flowing style of writing Hardy had, the writing it self was almost poetic as the told his story, but the story it self just fell short for me. I didn’t care much for any of the characters, they bored me and I wasn’t ever interested in them at all. Most didn’t have anything catching or striking about them, just a group of people, going on with there day to day lives. The story is about the men who fall in love with a farmer woman, but even the love story it self wasn’t as I thought; it almost lacked emotion and feelings you’d expect. I also found a lot of the story to be predictable and redundant. There are only so many times you can see the same guy beg for a woman’s love and for her to turn him down. It gets boring very quickly, and you want the story to move on and progress faster than it did. Although I guess the slowness of the story can reflect the slowness of the time period, life on the farm and the close-nit community people of the time lived in. And Hardy does an excellent job at that, he is able to portray that, it just had a week cast of characters, that didn’t do much for the story, and in fact probably hindered it.

There isn’t much else I can say, I’m not turned of Hardy yet, I’m going to try and read some of his other work, because his writing style is just beautiful, but this story just wasn’t me.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure. It has recieved a lot of positive reviews, so I think I probably would. I didn't like the story, mainly due to characterization and repetitive themes, but theres so much to take from the story, that I think a lot of different readers, with different tastes could possibly enjoy it. If you like Old English Stories, it might be worth a try, it's a short book, so if you're like me it will be a quick read, so there won't be a big commitment.

What to read next: The "love" story in this sorta reminds me of Wuthering Heights, so I'd say that. But not sure what else to read next. LibraryThing suggested Middlemarch by George Eliot, so maybe give that a try.

Challenges: 1% Well Read Challenge, 100+ Challenge, August Reading Challenge


  1. Have you read Tess of the D'Urbervilles? That was the first (and only) Hardy I read. The first 125 pages were slow, the last 250 went by twice as fast. I ended up liking it a lot, though I'm not a huge fan of pastoral writing. It's been about three years, and I really need to read something more by him, but they're quite an undertaking. I think I'll read Jude the Obscure when I get around to him again.

  2. I have always (for some reason) thought I wanted to read this book. But lately slow, classical novels don't do much for me, so I'm afraid I wouldn't like it after all.

  3. Sorry you didn't love this one. The only Hardy I have ever picked up was Jude the Obscure, and I only made it to about page 50. I think I am going to try again with Hardy, because I have heard really good things about his writing. I will most probably not start with either this one or Jude though. Thanks for your very insightful review.