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Far from the Madding Crowd Paperback – July 23, 2015
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But the editing that went into the digital version of this classic is truly terrible. There are typos, and misspellings, missing punctuation and spacing. For three whole pages, I was baffled beyond words at the repeated use of the completely out-of-context word "toad", until I realized the word was supposed to be "road". Inexcusable. At several points, it felt like entire sentences were missing from the story, and several sentences ended so abruptly, I am almost positive there is more to it than what was printed on the page.
Never have I been so disappointed with a digital rendering of a complete work. There were so many unforgiveable mistakes, that there were days I could not even read the book, as much as I love the story. I 100% recommend this book to anyone who loves Hardy. But DO NOT purchase this version. Whoever edited this should be ashamed of themselves. "Professionally proofread," my foot.
The only other book I've read by Thomas Hardy is Tess of the D'Urbervilles which I enjoyed because Tess was a well-rounded female character which I feel is a rare find in most books. Bathsheba too, is a well developed character and the reader gets to know her intimately as she comes of age in this sometimes funny and other times tragic love story.
Hardy is prone to waffling especially when describing architecture or milieus so the reader must be patient. The first half of the book is quite slow and I was tempted to give up on the book but the second half more than makes up for it.
The second half is tense and builds up to an unexpected violent scene and while the ending is predictable it is also satisfying. I recommend this book to those who enjoyed Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
Prodded on by the marginally satisfactory film version, I downloaded this very English novel. It had me by the throat from its first pages. My wife and I are now, in consequence, listening to a spoken version of TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES. Thomas Hardy gets quickly to the reader's heart.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is a tragic tale that somehow ends in deep comedy. Only after all its protagonists have loved (nobly or not) on to their own injury does the joyful denouement begin to come into view. Along the way, Hardy shows himself to be the kind of novelist who can capture more human observation in a dependent clause than many of us manage in a lifetime.
A reader who doesn't want to miss one of the English language's great novelists might find FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD a serviceable place to start. This extremely inexpensive digital version makes the beginning an easy expense to bear. Then, read, read, read. Don't put it down. The night is darkest just before the most splendid of dawns.