Hardy & Me…

I’m madd not to have read more Hardy!

I’m just back from the cinema where I saw Far From the Madding Crowd. For anyone suffering from Poldark withdrawal, it has lots of galloping along clifftops and through fields, and scything! Seriously, it was a wonderful film, with a screenplay by David Nicholls. I’ve come away with a serious crush on this Gabriel Oak (Mattias Schoenaerts, a Belgian), I gasped when his sheep became lemmings, I felt so sorry for poor anguished Mr Boldwood (Michael Sheen) and hoped that Katniss Bathsheba wouldn’t marry Sgt Troy (Tom Sturridge). You see despite being in my mid 50s now (eek!) I’ve never seen the earlier film with Christie, Bates and Stamp – just odd clips, I never knew the whole story. I could hardly bear to look at the screen when she nearly let him get away at the end, and had tears of joy rolling down my cheeks seconds later.


The thing is I love reading Thomas Hardy but I’ve only read two: Jude the Obscure for book club a couple of years ago and Tess of the D’Urbervilles back in autumn 2008. Should I read FFTMC now so soon after the film, or another of his novels – I have quite a few of my late mum’s copies on the shelves.

Which would you suggest I should read next?

18 thoughts on “Hardy & Me…

  1. Guy Savage says:

    I’m a big fan of Hardy. The Return of the Native is my favourite, but perhaps you should read far From the Madding Crowd while you’re still fresh from the film.

  2. heavenali says:

    Well I adore Hardy as I am sure you already know (and I too loved that film of Far from the Madding Crowd – what a wonderful Gabriel Oak). I would recommend The Mayor of Casterbridge, Return of the Native, Under the Greenwood Tree, The Trumpet Major, The Woodlanders and The Laodicean but then I totally love Hardy.

    • Annabel (gaskella) says:

      Wasn’t he (Oak) wonderful! Turning to the books though, The Laodicean is one I don’t have nor am familiar with. Seems The Return of the Native might be the one to read next…

  3. Col says:

    Am delighted to read this review – am at cinema now and going in to see FFTMC in about 15mins! My partner brought tissues as she knows I’ll cry! Read the book as soon as you can – it’s wonderful!

  4. Elle says:

    Native is cracking and has beautiful, terrifying nature descriptions (you’ll see what I mean by “terrifying”…) Do read FFTMC eventually, because it’s also wonderful, but as spring gets on I can’t think of a better Hardy for the long light evenings than Return of the Native.

      • Elle says:

        Definitely do. I really like Hardy–the bleakness has never bothered me because he makes up for it with an exceptional sense of landscape and mostly very well-judged symbolism. He’s really worth it.

  5. Harriet Devine says:

    So glad you loved it — I did like the sound of it and can only hope it makes its way to France, as things do sometimes. I am a huge fan of Hardy though I have to say I didn’t like The Return of the Native — perhaps I was in the wrong mood. My all out favourite is The Mayor of Casterbridge which I truly believe to be one of the great novels of all time. Whatever you choose I hope you love it.

  6. Teresa says:

    This movie has entirely snuck up on me–it’s hardly gotten any attention here, but it turns out it is playing in my area. It’s been close to 20 years since I read the book, and I hardly remember it, so I now have to decide whether I have time to reread it before going to see the movie. Or perhaps I’d enjoy the movie more if I don’t have the book fresh in my mind. Hmm…

    As for the next to read, I’d say Return of the Native or Mayor of Casterbridge. Those are my favorites after the two you’ve read. The Woodlanders is another good one that doesn’t get much attention.

    • Annabel (gaskella) says:

      You must go and see the film Teresa, I’m sure you’d enjoy it whether or not you re-read the book in time! There’s a lovely interview with David Nicholls here too in which he says he’s tried to remain ‘true to Hardy’.

  7. Sue says:

    Well, I saw the first film with Alan Bates, Julie Christie, Terence Stamp and so on. I can still, after so many years, remember whole scenes from that movie. I loved it.

    I wish I liked TH ‘s books more than I do – I like his poetry very much, but his books are just not for me.

    I will try and see the new movie.


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