Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

I heard a quote in a TV program the other day, said by one of my favourite actors. It was a quote from Far from the Madding Crowd, a copy of which I have owned from some 15 years but have never read. There are so many books to read out there that it’s difficult to know how to choose which one to pick up next. Hearing such a quote seems as good a reason as any to me, so I pulled the book down from the shelf and began to read.

This is the first book of Thomas Hardy that I have read and one of the few ‘classic’ books that I have attempted (a situation I now intend to rectify). This meant that the language being used hindered my reading at the start of the book. Within the first five pages I have probably noted at least ten words that I was not quite sure of. This did not bode well for an easy read, but after the first chapter I found that my mind had become accustomed to the language and began to relish in the descriptive nature of Hardy’s writing. I loved how he described the wind blowing over and through the forest, as if both were alive and interacting with each other; the vivid way in which the characters were illustrated truly helped me visualise the personalities and their temperament.

I laughed at times and I cried at others. At one point I even shouted at one character in the book – out loud!

Descriptive, moving, humorous, beautiful. When I put this book down I didn’t wish to speak.