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Far From the Madding Crowd
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Group Read Archive > Classics Group Read (pre 1900) - Far from the Madding Crowd - September 2015 - SPOILERS ALLOWED

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) | 5459 comments Mod
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Things to consider:
1. Did you like the book?
2. Did you like or dislike the main characters?
3. Do the characters develop?
4. What did you think of the plot and the ending of the story?
5. Do you have any particular favourite quotes or scenes?
6. Would you read anything else by this author?

Pink 1. Did you like the book? Overall, yes.
2. Did you like or dislike the main characters? I liked Bathsheba and Gabriel in the beginning, but they both irritated me by the end.
3. Do the characters develop? Gabriel doesn't really get a chance to develop, he just sits in the wings waiting for Bathsheba to learn her lesson.
4. What did you think of the plot and the ending of the story? I guessed from the very beginning that Bathsheba and Gabriel would end up together and I was hoping for this, but by half way through the story I really didn't care any more. I didn't like Bathsheba's story arc and how she ended up with Gabriel after Boldwood killed Troy. I'd have preferred Bathsheba to have chosen Gabriel earlier out of choice, instead of it feeling like he was the only one left in her life.
5. Do you have any particular favourite quotes or scenes? Not really.
6. Would you read anything else by this author? Definitely, yes!

message 3: by Joy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joy Stephenson (joyfrankie) | 463 comments I have read this previously – but it must be close to 40 years ago, so I was interested to read it again. Back then I was reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles, which I loved, for A level, and didn’t think this compared well. However I enjoyed it much more this time round. Perhaps it is a book more suited to an older person as the values it espouses are loyalty and dependability, rather than the desperate passions of ‘Tess’. The stalwart Gabriel does seem a bit dull at times but I suppose his love is shown in his endeavours for Bathsheba’s happiness, regardless of his own, whereas Boldwood’s ‘love’ is shown in his desire to possess her (as his wife). Mind you I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Boldwood in the end.
Bathsheba is selfish, but only as much as any very young individual might be, and although her thoughtless sending of a valentine to Boldwood eventually leads to his death, after all she could not be expected to foresee that such a light-hearted piece of tomfoolery would be taken so seriously.
I found the writing style to be of variable quality. Hardy is capable of some wonderful lyrical passages. I liked the passage near the beginning, where Gabriel is looking up at the sky and is conscious of the world turning. But then Hardy spoils it by going into detail about the names of constellations, almost as though he wants to show off his knowledge. I thought the last third of the book was more tightly written and there were fewer passages where my eyes glazed over as Hardy drones on getting nowhere!

Saffron (celeste1973) | 136 comments Hardy knew how to waffle that is no doubt. I took this to work and read in my break so only a chapter or two a day, which is to be fair all I could manage.

The plot is so slow and predictable in it's form and the droning on about barn and church construction etc is tedious.

However I did enjoy the depth with which the English countryside came alive, especially during the storm and the beginning where Gabriel losses his flock is heartbreaking, no insurance back then!

Bathsheba is a horrible heroine, I couldn't help but feel aggrieved for Tess of the d'Urbervilles who is treated so harshly by Hardy and this spoilt, vain girl ends up with the most loyal devoted of Husbands, even after the mess she gets herself into. Troy was of course a villain but Boldwood was equally as creepy, I could see that eventually he would crack up.

Overall I was a little disappointed. Where as with Tess which it has been years since I read, I still remember nearly every part of the book, this one will fade into oblivion as Under the Greenwood Tree has.

I will not be rushing out to read more Hardy.

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