Melissa Andrews's Reviews > The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
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's review
Nov 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: classics, fiction, historical, audiobook, i-own-it
Read in January, 2011

Henchard, Henchard, Henchard - poor Henchard (I hope I'm spelling this correctly - I "read" this as an audiobook, so have no idea what the correct spellings are). Is he the villain or a victim of circumstances? Should you feel empathy for him, or does he deserve everything that happens to him? That's the beauty of this book, I think. I read the synopsis and assumed that the book would build up to the sale of the wife, and so when that happened much earlier than I expected, I wondered what else could be left. Boy - was I wrong. This book had so many twists and turns - every time I thought it was going in one direction, it veered off again. Several times I found myself saying, "No, he didn't!" or "No, she didn't!" My feelings about the characters changed time and time again - sometimes I liked them, and sometimes I didn't, or thought they were stupid - there wasn't one "winner" throughout the entire book - but that worked really well!

***I'm spilling some of the beans here, so don't read on if you plan to read the book.*** I was ambivalent about Elizabeth and Donald ending up together. I wanted something nice to happen to Elizabeth, but after the way Donald "dumped" her for Lucetta, I wasn't sure that I wanted him to be the something nice. But I guess Hardy thought he had to write it that way to throw yet another curve ball at Henchard.

I think you should give this a try - it's an interesting foray into the ups and downs of human nature; a little dark, but definitely likeable. I'm going to be picking up some more of Hardy's fiction.

***Audible notes: there are several "copies" of this book on audible. I listed to the one narrated by Pamela Garelick and loved it***

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Reading Progress

01/01/2011 "1/1/2011 - so this book hasn't been at all what i thought it would be. the different twists so far are surprising - enjoying it so far. listening to as an audio book so not sure how far along i am. the narrator is great - love those British accents. :-)"
01/06/2011 "A little more than halfway through this audiobook. I love it!!! Twists and turns all over the place. Can't wait to see how it ends. Henchard (sorry if I'm mis-spelling) can't get a break, but he's not such a nice person so it's fun to see all this happen to him."

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