Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Life's Little Ironies” as Want to Read:
Life's Little Ironies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Life's Little Ironies

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  553 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
The phrase `life's little ironies' is now proverbial, but it was coined by Hardy as the title for this, his third volume of short stories. While the tales and sketches reflect many of the strengths and themes of the great novels, they are powerful works in their own right. Unified by his quintessential irony, strong visual sense, and engaging characters, they deal with the ...more
Paperback, 251 pages
Published 1996 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1894)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Life's Little Ironies, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Life's Little Ironies

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 06, 2015 Nahed.E rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: إنجليزي

مفارقات الحياة
القراءة الأولي للكاتب الإنجليزي الشهير توماس هاردي

الكتاب عبارة عن مجموعة قصصية اجتماعية رومانسية تحكي المفارقات القدرية التي تمر عليك وتغير من مصيرك وأنت كإنسان تتلقي المفاجآت .. فلا تدري أأنت السبب ؟ أم هو القدر ؟

مُسير أنت أم مُخير ؟
من منا يتحمل مسئولية اختياره ومشاعره وعواطفه التي تحركه يميناً ويساراً فتجد نفسك بطلاً في قصة ليست من اختيارك ومُرغم أنت علي الاستمرار فيها وتحمل نتائجها رغماً عنك ؟

ستجد الكثير من الإجابات ..
في كل رواية إجابة مختلفة ..
أحياناً سيكون الأمر مُلقي علي عاتق
Dec 24, 2013 Ali rated it really liked it
This particular collection of stories from Thomas Hardy which I only read for the first time two years ago at the start of my Thomas Hardy challenge – are very well named. Hardy is a master at delivering a soft little punch to the guts as his story draws to a close. I say soft punch because so often the reader can see it coming – and still Hardy knew how to ring every last little bit of drama and emotion out of his characters.
I love Hardy’s world, as many regular readers of this blog will be
Jan 01, 2015 Sylvester rated it it was amazing
Sometimes everything goes wrong. Or in the case of this book, everything always goes wrong. It was weird how I enjoyed thinking of all the ways the story could go south. I'm not a masochist - I did have to read a flufferoony simultaneously to counter-balance all the unhappy endings, but I see that excellent unhappy endings are very satisfying - and, of course, Hardy has wonderful verisimilitude and control over his plots. I thoroughly enjoyed having this sort of "Collection of Bad Ends". Some of ...more
Oct 02, 2016 Marwa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
كثيرا ما تضعنا الحياة في مهب ريح لا تشتهيها سفننا ! في هذه الرواية ستجد ريحا عبثت بأحلام أناس وغيرت مجرى حياتهم ، وترى كيف تصرف كل منهم لينقذ بقية أحلامه ، قصص قصيرة استمتعت بها
Mar 07, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Hardy never fails to grab my attention with the descriptive passages of the countryside.
I loved them all and found 'The Son's Veto' to be Hardy's favourite.
A few crusted characters was wonderful in the fact it had a returning narative.
Wonderful characters and some very sad tales.
Dec 30, 2013 Teresa rated it it was ok
Surprisingly disappointing. The writing can't be faulted, Hardy is a master of the pen and his language is beautiful, but these little "ironies" were a big let-down as well as real downers. By this I mean that they were stiff, hard to get into and only saved by the fact that most of them had melancholy/tragic endings which was the only thing that made any of these stories the least bit memorable!
Sash Chiesa
Feb 17, 2016 Sash Chiesa rated it it was amazing
The coinage of the phrase "Life's little ironies" by Hardy is not a surprise. Ironies are the quintessence of Hardy. The stories in this book never fail to move me. And since my life has had many little ironies, I'd always flow and somewhat live through these words. Hardy is the creator of some of the most cathartic works. I love this book!
Mar 30, 2012 vinnayvie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cynics
This book celebrates Thomas Hardy's cynical views of life. Each short story ends with an ironic or even depressing conclusion, generally brought on by the main characters mistakes earlier in life and his/her attempts to rectify them. While well written, it's not the most pleasant book.
Sandra Nixon
As always I love Thomas Hardy. Short stories don't allow for as much charachter attachment but his stories are still greag
Dec 17, 2009 Abhilash rated it liked it
A sad book. All the stories highlight the ironies of life and have a tragic end. But a few of them were magical..... though am not exactly sure how i would explain this.
Feb 23, 2013 Lavinia rated it it was amazing
Such beautiful stories ... couldn't even choose a favorite one.
Some funny, some sad, and all of them deliciously ironic.
Jul 10, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardy
Wonderful collection of gloomy short stories; typical Hardy. They are very powerful portrayals of human frailty.
Jul 17, 2010 Stefania rated it liked it
To sad to be called ironies
When one speaks of Thomas Hardy as an author, one associates the name with never-ending novels which many have 'studied' but which few have dared to endeavor to read.

This is why I believe Hardy's collection in this book (classified in his 'novels of character and environment') to be an exceptional one. You literally do not have any excuse not to read Hardy anymore. All his wit, irony and prowess as an author, but never exceeding thirty pages or so.

However, the real reason why this book merits
Dec 20, 2015 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first story in this book was so sad that I thought I wouldn't continue to read it. However, I found that I was so haunted by thinking about the story that I went back to it. Not all of the stories end sadly. Some of them have some humor to them. Generally, each story gives a different perspective on life. The Victorian style writing may be burdensome to some people. I recommend if that is the case, that the reader might try sticking with it for a bit longer. I found that I fell into the ...more
May 01, 2015 Tal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, other
i actually read the e-book version of Life's Little Ironies for book club. it's a collection of short stories about "Life's Little Ironies" which mostly seemed to mean marrying people one shouldnt/didnt want to/was mistaken.

i liked the language, it was sharp and concise, but i felt the characters were a bit flat/similar and the "ironies" were all much the same. perhaps i should have read this book over a longer period, one story at a time, and savoured them club.

Susan Grodsky
Apr 15, 2012 Susan Grodsky rated it it was amazing
A nice place to start with Hardy, since the stories are all quick reads and feature his trademark theme of love frustrated by class considerations. Most poignant (IMHO) is the first story, "An Imaginative Woman". It's a tribute to Hardy's skill that you know 90 percent of the resolution after the first few paragraphs, yet you keep turning the pages, hoping desperately for something different. Spoiler alert: you know 90 percent, but there's a 10 percent surprise in the last paragraph.
Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
I always enjoy books of short stories where they are connected somehow, so Thomas Hardy's Life's Little Ironies was fun. Hardy shows many sides of life in the English countryside, where boys meeting girls and girls having babies are the whole point of life for most of his characters. The stories in this volume feel very much like one is hanging out with the town gossips hearing all the news.
Grace Brooks
I feel like a bit of a heel giving a Thomas Hardy book only three stars, but I have a problem with stories that are so pointlessly sad. Maybe I should be discerning terrific insights into the human condition from these tales, but they just come off to me as pitiless and mean-spirited. I'm probably in the minority, but I'll add my review in case it strikes a resonant note somewhere.
Sloth Robinson
May 21, 2016 Sloth Robinson rated it really liked it
Love Hardy's bleak worlds. Meandering characters who think they have meaning in their existence. Shit just happening, an almost nonexistent moral code comparatively to those of the Victorian Period, where good normally triumphs and evils succumb to punishment – not with Hardy they don't.
My first introduction into the realist texts of the Victorian era, thoroughly enjoyed.
Apr 16, 2009 Ayla rated it really liked it
Didn't know that Hardy coined 'life's little ironies' but this is a collection of rather heartbreaking at times 'little ironies' - lots of similar Hardy themes - unrequited love, 'grass is always greener'. And some perfectly formed vignettes at the end - stories of magical fiddling musicians and miscreants in the church band.
Jul 02, 2014 Aysha rated it it was ok
مجموعة من القصص رغم حملها لعناوين مختلفة الا انها تشترك في وصفها بـ "مفارقات الحياة" كما هو العنوان للكتاب ربما المضمون لم يكن بذلك الجمال وهذا يعود الى العنوان ذاته فهو يصور لك مفارقات الحياة وما يضمر في قلوب البشر,سلسل القراءة خفيف الظل
K' Lati
Feb 29, 2008 K' Lati rated it it was amazing
My favorite stories were: On the Western Circuit- What a dope falling in love with the letters of a woman instead of the woman herself. good stuff. An Imaginative Woman- Again with the tragic love. The Fidlers of the Reels- Wat Ollamoor. Enough said this was a good book.
Marija Andreeva
Feb 02, 2016 Marija Andreeva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I really did enjoy this collection of short stories. I actually liked the stories better than his novel Far from the Madding Crowd. The stories were warm, interesting and they always had very interesting endings, depicting the little ironies of life. Great book.
Dec 19, 2015 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories in this collection started out very strong (An Imaginative Woman, The Son's Veto, For Conscience' Sake) but later stories just did not work as well for me and in the end, I was just trying to finish up the book.
Mar 30, 2012 Ivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas hardy mempesonaku setelah aku mempelajarinya. Membacanya aku butuh ketenangan batin. Dia tidak menyuguhiku sesuatu yang besar, yang menggebu, yang marvelous. Tapi aku bisa berjalan dengannya. Aku bisa merasakannya..
Tota Elbakry
Jan 04, 2016 Tota Elbakry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
كئيييب اوي
فكرني بطريقة تشيخوف بس هنا القصص اطول
قصه ارضاء لزوجته وقصه أملين بجد مأساة !
فكرة انك تبقي عايز حاجه والحياة تمشي في طريق عكسي كفيلة لوحدها بأنها تسبب اليأس
الكتاب علي ما قد ما هو فادني علي ما قد ما كئبني
Yumna M.  Usmani
Aug 30, 2015 Yumna M. Usmani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written stories that discuss everyday issues that seem trivial but their impact is high...
May 07, 2015 Omama rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
مجموعة من القصص القصيره عن الحياه ،العائله ، المجتمع كتبها توماس هاردي بنهايات غير سعيده تماماً كواقعنا مفارقات الحياة روايه بسيطه وسلسه لم تعجبني الترجمه ، يفضل قراءتها باللغه الانجليزيه
Janet Berkman
Jan 13, 2016 Janet Berkman rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Strong start, but the interconnected stories that make up the second half of the book were less interesting.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lifted Veil / Brother Jacob (Oxford World's Classics)
  • The Duke's Children (Palliser, #6)
  • Pot Luck (Les Rougon-Macquart, #10)
  • Thomas Hardy
  • The Best Short Stories
  • Esther Waters
  • The Princess Casamassima
  • The Egoist
  • The History of Pendennis: His Fortunes And Misfortunes, His Friends And His Greatest Enemy
  • Deerbrook
  • The Nigger of the Narcissus and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
  • Poor Miss Finch
  • Triple Ripple: A Fabulous Fairytale
  • French Decadent Tales
Thomas Hardy, OM, was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates cha ...more
More about Thomas Hardy...

Share This Book

“She showed a natural aptitude for little domestic refinements, so far as related to things and manners; but in what is called culture she” 1 likes
“No, I am not a lady,’ she said sadly.  ‘I never shall be.  But he’s a gentleman, and that—makes it—O how difficult for me!” 1 likes
More quotes…