So pleased that this was a delightful read. I’d read Tess of the D’Urbervilles many years ago and found it flowery, overlong and downright depressing. So, it was nice to find delight in Hardy’s vivid descriptions. Perhaps it’s also because I now find myself outside the UK in a landscape that is terribly far removed from that of his imaginary Wessex. It may also be that I’ve since honeymooned in Dorset and so have fond memories of that part of the country.
But the story of unrequited love reminded me of so many other books. Bathsheba initially reminded me of Scarlett in Gone With the Wind and then Madame Bovary at times too, even Anna Karenina. Ultimately though, she was able to stand as a character in her own right. Oak is the stalwart faithful counterbalance to her whims. The ending was obvious. What was less so was how it happened. Personally, I think he left it at little late.
Not his best book but certainly worth a read for its descriptive power alone.
When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun.
For as without law there is no sin, without eyes there is no indecorum.
There is no regular path for getting out of love as there is for getting in. Some people look upon marriage as a short cut that way, but it has been known to fail.
settle: a wooden bench, usually with arms and a high back, long enough to accommodate three or four sitters.
moiety: A small portion or share
bower: a framework that supports climbing plants
demesne: Land retained by a lord for his own use
vermiculation: irregular wavy lines or grooves
peregrination: traveling or wandering around
recusant: someone who refuses to conform to established standards of conduct
adumbrate: vague indication or warning of something to come
piquant: Spicy or sharp in flavor.
supererogatory: more than is needed
attar: essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers
vicissitude: State of being changeable or in flux
tergiversation: falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language
palimpsest: a manuscript which has been re-used by scraping off the original text and writing over the top
But since ’tis as ’tis, why, it might have been worse, and I feel my thanks accordingly.
terrible > poor > mediocre > okay > good > very good > excellent > superb
2007 – Feb