Thursday, 31 January 2013

Hardy


I barely noticed the ODI series but overall the 3-2 defeat wasn’t a bad result.  Along with a drawn T20 series and the great test series win before Xmas it’s been a good time in India for England.  Joe Root in particular shined in the ODI series.  England move to New Zealand now but the tests don’t start for another month.  If England play as well as the did in India they will steam roller New Zealand, at the moment I can’t see any other result.  Australia now move on to play India which will be very interesting.  Do Australia have good enough spinners to worry India?

I first read Thomas Hardy when I was doing an A level, firstly some of his poetry and also a novel, “Jude the Obscure”.  The latter is the story of a country man aspiring to better himself at university who instead meets disappointment and sinks into alcoholism.  This was a horribly depressing book that almost put me off Hardy for life.  Almost.
I’d run out of books but there on the shelf was an untouched copy of “Far from the madding crowd” that had sat on the shelf for years.  With some trepidation I decided to attempt reading it.  It didn’t take me long to realise this was a very different book to “Jude…”, a book I could enjoy.
Set in rural Wessex it tells the tale of three men vying for the attentions of one woman.  There must be thousands of such books but dare I say Hardy’s must have been amongst the earliest?  This story is told with skill, empathy and it even manages to surprise the reader along the way.
Just as interesting is the historical snapshot of rural England in the 19th century.  The landscape, the rural practices and class system of that time are vividly portrayed.
As the book meanders to its conclusion it threatens to descend into the misery of “Jude…” but on this occasion Hardy doesn’t allow this.  The mood changes and the ending is upbeat.  I really liked “Far from the madding crowd” and I’m not afraid to read some more Hardy some day.

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