In a remote corner of early Victorian England, where traditional practices remain untouched by time, Bathsheba Everdene stands out as a beacon of female independence and self-reliance. However, when confronted with three suitors, among them the dashing Captain Troy, she shows a reckless capriciousness that threatens the stability of the whole community. Published in 1874, and an immediate best seller, Far From the Madding Crowd established Thomas Hardy as one of Britain's foremost novelists.
Public Domain (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks
I must say that, with future books, it will be hard not to rate the authors' words and compare them with Thomas Hardy's knowledge of a dictionary and his construction of a sentence. It can be rather simple to narrate the combined works of many characters onto pieces of paper and call it a novel, but Hardy has a lovely style that I'll show presently. In randomly turning to any page in the book I've found the following paragraph: 'At this moment on the ridge, up against the blazing sky, a figure was visible, like the black snuff in the midst of a candle-flame. Then it moved and began to bustle about vigorously from place to place, carrying square skeleton masses, which were riddled by the same rays. A small figure on all fours followed behind. The tall form was that of Gabriel Oak; the small one that of George; the articles in course of transit were hurdles.' Now, if this had been me (or many other authors) I would've said 'Mr Boldwood saw Gabriel Oak and his horse moving hurdles in the hot sun.' See what I mean by eloquence?
As for the story, it is terrific! Gabriel Oak is a loveable man who devotes his life to hard work. Unfortunately, one of his herding dogs happens to chase his flock of ewes off a cliff, so he's left without work and he comes to be employed by Bathsheba, a woman that he falls in love with after she saves his life. I rooted for him the entire time, hoping that she would find some sort of romance with him, but, even after she doesn't, his devotion to her as a concerned employee doesn't stray, though she's being courted by an older gentleman after she plays a trick on him and she ends up marrying a gambling drunkard who doesn't love her in the first place. And at this point, the story's not even halfway through!
Now, when it comes to Jamie Parker's reading of the novel, I found it spot-on! There were several characters with regional accents that he performed incredibly well. His recognition and performance of the author's words was one for the ages. There was only one thing I didn't enjoy about it, at first: his performance was so accurate that, when whispered words were uttered, it was sometimes difficult to hear on my laptop. But this was quickly remedied with the use of headphones, and his performance was enjoyed exponentially more! Well done, sir!
It more than exceeded my expectations. Jamie Parker does the Wessex rustic voices brilliantly. I would happily listen to him reading any books.
I love Hardy's tales.
The narrator makes this book come alive. Each character was so individualized and he has a good singing voice. He's fabulous!. Can't beat Hardy for plot twists and turns.
This is a fantastic book by Hardy. The characters and the story is so captivating that I had several driveway moment when listening to it. Jamie Parker is one of the best narrators that there it is. His voice and accents are so rich that it enlivens the book even further. Truly it is a pleasure to listen to him.
In the top 20.
The strength of Bathsheba Everdene.
It is hard for a woman to express her feelings in a language that men have designed to express theirs.
The narrator brought the author's beautifully written characters and story to life. I'm glad I read the book before seeing the movie. I don't see how the movie could do his depth of character and story justice. I saw the story as vivid as a movie in my mind.
This book is obviously a classic and I enjoyed the story, but it was the narration that really brought it to life! There are actually many funny parts, ridiculous characters, etc. that I don't think I would've noticed if I was just reading the text. A great listen and a great story.
"The Pedant strikes"
I am enjoying this reading. I was impressed by Jamie Parker's narration, especially when I noticed that he pronounced the 'pint' of 'cuckoo-pint' correctly. However, my faith in his pronunciation had a nasty jolt when he pronounced 'Collect' in Chapter 44 as if it meant to acquire or pick up. As the context makes pretty clear, the Collect is a Christian prayer ('The boy was of the dunce class apparently; the book was a psalter, and this was his way of learning the collect.') Not the worst mistake I've heard in an audiobook by any means, but when I come across errors I always wonder why it isn't possible to get the recordings carefully checked and double-checked to eradicate the mistakes and re-record those passages before release.
Well read by the narrator. A good 'Hardy' story with contrasting characters. I've never read this one and this audiobook did its job and kept me listening.
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