...for one US Dollar.
Arrrrgh. What a beautifully frustrating and revealing book. And impossibly well crafted. I want to slap all of the principals, and then hug them, and then get everyone a therapist. I can't possibly have anything new to add to Criticism of Thomas Hardy--threats of bodily harm do not in my view qualify--but his ability to pick out the things we experience as tragic, or joyful, or melancholy, or triumphant and then describe those things poignantly is perhaps unsurpassed. It seems he alone has access to some previously-unknown API that precisely resonates on every page. (Dare I recommend Tess to fans of Neal Stephenson?)
I laughed, I cried...okay, fine, maybe I didn't laugh.
But I was transported.
THE STORY is well known, but listening to an unabridged reading will always illuminate fresh themes and details. It also highlights the range of Hardy's writing, which can move from the 'opalised light of the moon' in heavenscapes, through sweeping landscapes down to a single dewdrop. Anna Bentinck conveys superbly Hardy's nuances of tone from the locals' country accents to Angel Clare's fastidious correctness. D'Urberville sounds kindly - rather than just a wheedling cad - which gives the listener deeper understanding and sympathy for Tess's predicament. - Rachel Redford, The Oldie --jjj
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