H's Reviews > The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
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's review
Apr 02, 2011

bookshelves: classics, drama, 2011
Recommended to H by: We had to read and study this for English.
Recommended for: Lovers of classics.

I wouldn't have picked this book if not for school, and I'm not sure yet if I'm glad or not I read this. That's why I'm leaving the rating open.

Over-analyzing sort of it killed it for me.

I did think Hardy was a genius for coming up with a rich plot so masterfully woven, and an irony we readers find in every corner. It made me wonder about life's full cycle and how things come back to point zero at the end.

The characters, as I was reading the book, felt like little stereotypical figures while they probably weren't at the time of publication. We've got the tortured typical protagonist, who fate seems to be hating and everything's going all wrong for him. There's the antagonist who can't hurt a fly but ruins a whole man's life and leaves him in shambles without even knowing it. Maybe the fact that they're so real and deep gives me a vibe that I've met and known these people somewhere, sometime.

Hardy has written layers after layers of references to Biblical figures and foreshadowing and I can't remember what else. Just when you think you got the hang of the story and you know what's going on, you get shocked and blown away at how every sentence and every page seems to carry an alternative, almost hidden for the non-observant eye meaning.

The Mayor of Casterbridge is awesome, once the whole drama of life unfolds--and you can't help but think, "Thank God that's not me there" and feel sympathy for everyone; even the ones you're supposed to hate.

For me, that is the ultimate weapon in literature: to make a reader feel sympathy for villain-like characters that may or may not deserve it.
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