Around 500 pages
I completely devoured Ian McEwan's Saturday, but as I was having trouble with nausea because of my pain medication, I made myself sick from reading so much. I was still eager to know the ending, so I had my mother read the last twenty pages out loud for me. Thankfully, I don't have that problem anymore and could read Far From the Madding Crowd without vomiting.
Bathsheba Everdene is a beautiful young woman who inherits her uncle's farm. Despite Thomas Hardy's barely contained sexism, Bathsheba commands the respect and love of her employees. She attracts the attention of three men and each romance plays out in shocking ways.
I absolutely loved this novel. I became completely obsessed with these characters and all I wanted to do was to sit with my bowl of M&Ms and read about Bathsheba's farm. I know Thomas Hardy always describes landscapes beautifully, but I didn't expect him to make me laugh out loud with his narration. I thought watching the three types of love develop was the most compelling part of the story. You had Gabriel Oak's love of Bathsheba, which was solid, unwavering, but also a bit dull and unromantic. Then you had Farmer Boldwood's love, which was irrational and crazed. Finally, you had Francis Troy's "love" which was based on sexual desire and self flattery. Being in my 20s, I have experienced quite a few Troys.
I think a lot of people find Bathsheba annoying, but really, I don't think it is her fault that the men around her are a bit loony. I probably should wind this down. I loved it and it is certainly a promising start to our Hardy phase.
Fourth of Hardy's novels and first major literary success.
The title comes from a poem; the word "madding" means frenzied.
Trailer for the latest adaptation. Readers, is it worth watching?
UP NEXT: The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Gustave Flaubert. I do adore Flaubert but that is a rather frightening title.