Ann's Reviews > The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
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May 17, 10

Read in May, 2010

Best book I've read in a while. If some books are worth putting down because they are too depressing, others (like this one) are worth devouring for the same reason.

Bitter irony stacked upon heaps of previous bitter ironies permanently invested me in this horrible character that I hate to love. And Hardy can't even let the happy ending for the one truly good character stand--he MUST qualify it with the lesson that happy endings aren't very happy if your life has taught you that happiness can't last.

I just find it brilliant. I've read other reviews that say Hardy doesn't care about his characters and that we can't learn anything from such a thoroughly depressing story. But I disagree on both points. Hardy cares so much about Henchard (the mayor) that he can't leave him alone. He can't give up on him, continually allowing him more chances to redeem himself. And to think we can't learn anything from the story and its irredeemable characters. Ignore the dark Henchard--what about Farfrae and Elizabeth and Whittle and Lucetta? We can't learn from them? We can't observe their blend of outstanding goodness and just plain indifference and wonder which extreme we tend towards ourselves?

Laugh out loud exquisite agony. And I love it.
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message 1: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Great review! I've always been scared of Hardy (some English major, right?) but this review makes me want to give him a try.


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