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Thomas Hardy is one of my favorite authors and this book is probaby my favorite of his books. It has the darkness that a lot of his novels have, but it has some light as well. Bathsheba is a very complex character with very definite faults. Nobody in this novel is too perfect and everyone seems very human. Nathaniel Parker is a great narrator. At first I thought he read a little fast, but either he slowed down or I got used to it because I really enjoyed his reading. He does a wonderful job with the characters, and Bathsheba doesn't have that annoying sound that some male narrators give their female characters. I will definitely be listening to this one again.
This Thomas Hardy masterpiece is presented with excellent narration. The quality of the production is wonderful. My only question, why doesn't Nathaniel Parker do more of Thomas Hardy?
Gabriel Oak is man of virtue and integrity, a giant in fiction.
Yes, I loved this book!
yes. The writing of Hardy is worth second third and fourth looks. Beautiful descriptions and keen observations of the human condition, with just the right balance of humor and pathos.
Nathaniel Parker's narration; Thomas Hardy's exquisite descriptions, observations and character development.
yes, hard to put down, but it is a long book, and it needed to "breathe" as the story went on.
It will be hard to top anything that Nathaniel Parker narrates. He did an excellent job. Only wish there were more books available narrated by him!
Nathaniel Parker's characters are stunning. Accents, toning, even breath sounds make Hardy's world so real as to seem to belong to the listener.
Definitely near the top of my list/.
A great story. I was glad it was a long book and sad to see it end. Really believable characters.
I didn't think about the narrator at all, which is how it should be.
No, I listen when driving. I looked forward to long drives when I was listening to this book.
I highly recommend this book.
Retired art and high school teacher. Artist, wife, mother, grandmother and I love gardening, meditation and listening to good books.
Love the story. Fantastic writing great description . Wonderful character development . I would like to read by Thomas hardy he is brilliant .
I know this book received some excellent reviews, but it was by far the most difficult book for me to listen to. Painfully difficult. I almost stopped numerous times. The narrator did a good job, the story was a good story- but it was the form of literature that made it so difficult to want to finish...I do not take pleasure in giving a poor rating but this is one that was so painfully slow that I will not listen to it again....ever.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
Bathsheba Everdeen has inherited a sheep farm from her late uncle in the idyllic Victorian farming community, the village of Weatherbury, Wessex County, England. The novel was published in 1874 and reportedly was Hardy's first commercial success (his 4th novel).
Bathsheba is haughty and creates her own set of madding problems by sending a Valentine to the shy, very strange William Boldwood, after turning down a marriage proposal from the heady shepherd/farmer Gabe Oak. Then as giddy as a schoolgirl, she falls head over heels for the cad Sergeant Troy (a distant relative of Major Tom and Captain Jack).
To say more on the story would reveal a spoiler. Hardy deftly focuses on themes of honor, love and betrayal. He took the title from a poem called "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray (1751).
"Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way."
I was quite frustrated by Bathsheba's total infatuation with Sergeant Troy. Have young women always worn blinders to the duplicity of the attractive snakes, going back to the Original Sin? Can nothing be done to save such heartaches, that everyone except the lady can see coming?
Probably so and likely not. In any case, I found this a good, but not great, novel.
Nathaniel Parker is amazing. My goodness, what else has he recorded for Audible? Sign me up.
"Riveting Story, Superb Reading"
This compelling classic could not be better served than it is in this reading by Nathaniel Parker. He makes vivid Hardy's majestically poetic narrative and uses subtle yet distinct inflexion to indicate which character is speaking. I did not listen to this book as much as dwell within it.
"Far From The Madding Crowd"
A well known story thanks to a great film. The film, though, omits many of the great details of Hardy's classic tale. Here is love, commitment, passion, desire and the terrible resut of unfulfilled love. Beautifully read, all the passion is is here. Classic.
"A Pastoral Tale of Love and Loss Read Beautifully"
I had read Far From the Madding Crowd several times in my teens when going through a Hardy phase, and though I appreciate that Hardy's later novels often pushed the boundaries far more in challenging society's notions of love and respectability, this has always been my favourite. Although there is no absence of hardship and tragedy for many of the characters in this tale, there is a happy ending; at least for the male protagonist Gabriel Oak if not entirely for Bathsheba who has had to endure many terrible twists and turns in her young womanhood (some admittedly brought on by her own folly) before she finds that what she was looking for was right under her nose.
Hardy has a way of writing even very flawed characters so that we at least partly understand and empathise with them. These are real people, vividly drawn, and when they despair, we despair (in Hardy's last novel Jude the Obscure I was so moved at one point that I was in floods of tears and had to put the book down for weeks to get over it!).
In this audio performance I found myself appreciating the cast of rural workpeople far more than I had when reading the novel. I don't know if this is due to age - I felt I got a lot more from the novel this time around in all regards, perhaps due to the wisdom of experience - or because of the excellent narration. Nathaniel Parker gives each character his own voice, his accents sound authentic and his Gabriel Oak was so good I was prompted to seek out the 1998 television series in which he starred as the character (very well worth a watch too if you get the chance, I have now watched it twice).
Overall, well worth my credit, I know I will be listening to this many times.
"Compelling and Beautiful!!"
Nathanial Parker's reading of Far From the Madding Crowd is absolutely flawless! I was completely enthralled by this book. Whilst Hardy's language is a little stilted and hard to follow in places, the prose is truly magnificent and the reader makes this story very accessible indeed. This is a tremendous way to experience the classics.
It took a while for me to get into the story and more densely descriptive English prose, however I persevered and it was so amazing , I loved every minute and learnt a lot about Harry's England . it's a masterpiece .
I would because the tone and accent of the narrator communicated the story's milieu. Also I think Nathaniel Parker keeps up the momentum of the book and kept it enjoyable from start to finish.
I would never change a story! But if I was the editor I may have cut out a few of the sheep scenes, one too many for my taste.
No I have not, however I was very impressed and I would definitely listen to another of his recordings.
Love and sheep in the time of feminism.
This is not one of my favourite Hardy books but I really enjoyed listening to another one of this works. I would definitely recommend it to any Hardy fans.
The reader has different voices for the various characters. It was amazing. Listened over 3 days!
"Loved it from start to finish!"
This had become one of my favourites. Very enjoyable. I expect that I will be playing this again and again.
"My lovely revisit of a classic"
As fas the classics go, this is in the upper half of my list of favourites.
I appreciated the overall listening experience, but I was moved by Gabriel Oak's loyalty, strength and honour despite his personal setbacks.
I appreciated much more now than when I first read it decades ago what an extraordinary position and status Bathsheba had for those times and how hard it was for her to use her status fully. I also appreciated how Hardy, a male author in the second half of the 19th century, captured the essence of that difficulty with sensitivity in a time when women were still very much treated as chattels and had very few rights.
"Superb reading by Nathaniel Parker"
I'm not a huge fan of Hardy, it has to be said. His opinion and depictions of women leave a lot to be desired. However, Nathaniel Parker brought such life and vitality to the story in his reading that I couldn't help but be captivated and engaged in the story.
Exceptionally well done!
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