BR & FR: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy

(Beware of spoilers) Far from the Madding Crowd is one of Hardy's earliest and most pastoral novels. I read it partly while visiting family in Hampshire and was swept away by the vivid descriptions of the changing rural landscape, reflecting the fluctuating moods and fortunes of the characters. The novel centres around Bathsheba Everdene, a... Continue Reading →


BR: ‘The Day of the Locust’ by Nathanael West

The Day of the Locust is a strange yet vivid tale, described by Jonathan Lethem as a 'sun-blazed Polaroid of its moment'. The protagonist, Tod Hackett, is an artist who moves to Hollywood to become a set designer. Instead of mixing with movie stars, however, he falls in with the disillusioned rejects buzzing like moths around... Continue Reading →

BR: ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot

'Middlemarch' is a novel comprised of a series of interlinked sketches of provincial life in 1830s England. The plot revolves around three major characters: Dorothea Brooke, who struggles to express herself in the constricted world afforded to women at the time; Tertius Lydgate, whose dreams of groundbreaking medical research are complicated by the demands of... Continue Reading →

BR: ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens

'Great Expectations' begins irresistibly with the narrator, the orphan Pip, encountering a mysterious convict on the Kent marshes. This terrifying experience is contrasted later with his more insidiously haunting visits to Miss Havisham, for whom time stopped on the day she was jilted. Both of these characters have a great influence on Pip as he... Continue Reading →

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