To the readers of the day, "The Mayor of Casterbridge" would have been perceived as a darkly pessimistic tragedy that might have evoked emotions akin to those raised by Shakespeare's "Hamlet" or Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex".
Michael Henchard, a down-on-his-luck, unemployed hay trusser, succumbs to the siren call of alcohol at a country fair. Subconsciously feeling his wife, Susan, is holding him back from success in this world, he awakes to sobriety the next morning and realizes that, in a foolish fit of pique, he has auctioned her and his daughter, Elizabeth-Jane, off to a sailor. Despite his frantic efforts to find them, they have disappeared. Ravaged with guilt over his selfish, impulsive act, he swears he will not … more
If this audiobook were a movie, it might drain the entire West End to replace the single voice of Tony Britton. Not only does he display extraordinary command of old dialects, but he also reveals deep understanding of the rural inhabitants of 18th-century Wessex. So skilled is the reading that it could be the colorful characters themselves sounding off at The Three Mariners in the center of Casterbridge. Of course author Hardy (Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Audio Reviews, LJ 5/15/92) has done his part. This novel is one of his most inspiring creations. It is about a common field laborer, Michael Henshard, who becomes a leader in this small market town and then?through his own failure?sinks back miserably to his humble beginnings. As this tragic figure moves across the landscape of Hardy's native Dorset, descriptions of the countryside are as evocative as paintings by John Constable and as lively as scenes by Peter Brueghel. Highly recommended.?Jo Carr, Sarasota, Fla. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to theAudio Cassetteedition.