Friday, August 3, 2012

2012 Book review #4: The Mayor of Casterbridge

Author: Thomas Hardy

Pages: 386
Personal Rating: 5/5

From the back cover: Under the powerful influence of rum furmity, Michael Henchard, a hay-trusser by trade, sells his wife Susan and their child Elizabeth Jane to Newson, a sailor, for five guineas.

Years later, Susan, now a widow arrives in Casterbridge with Elizabeth-Jane to seek her legal husband. To their surprise, Henchard is now the Mayor of Casterbridge, and following the sale of his wife, took a twenty-one year vow not to drink out of shame. Henchard remarries Susan and as Elizabeth-Jane believes herself to be Newsons's daughter, he adopts her as his own. But he cannot evade his destiny by such measures, for his past refuses to be buried. Fate contrives for him to be punished for the recklessness of his younger days.

In this powerful depiction of a man who overreaches himself, Hardy once again shows his astute psychological grasp and his deep seated knowledge of mid-nineteenth century Dorset.

Personal Thought and Reflection: This is one of the best classics I have ever read, and I am looking forward to reading more of Hardy's works. I, having studied psychology in college, saw alot of underlying psychological themes running through this piece. I kept thinking "If only I could get Henchard help! He needs a good psychologist!"
I really enjoyed this!