Again just one this week. Which considering my TBR list has just doubled after a very successful (or, from the view point of my bank balance, disastrous) shopping trip is really not good enough. It was a long one though.
TESS OF THE D’URBUERVILLES by THOMAS HARDY
Where I finished it: In a service station on the M1 after insisting to my parents that I’d be so much more pleasant for the rest of the car journey if they just left me in peace to finish it.
How long: About two weeks off and on.
Favourite quote: ‘Tis because we be on a blighted star and not a sound one.
Would I read it again: I think in a few years I’ll be desperate to read it again.
Every time this book is mentioned in front of my mum she does this almost involuntary wince (only almost involuntary because I’m sure she hams it up for effect) and proceeds to lament for ten minutes how frustratingly passive Tess is. I don’t know if this was supposed to put me off reading it but it didn’t work – any book that can cause that strong a reaction years after you first read it is a book I want to read.
Well I don’t know if I completely misread it (or if my mum did) but I don’t blame Tess for the way her life turned out. When I put the book down it was Angel Clare I was angry at. Which was hard for me as in the TV series I’m going to watch he’s played by Eddie Redmayne and I don’t want to be angry at Eddie Redmayne. But Angel Clare could have been so good for Tess, they could have been so happy, and instead he gave in to old fashioned values, became a hypocrite and abandoned her. He even had the cheek to complain that she didn’t write when he’d told her not to write!
The last third of the book I read in a rush, desperate to get to the end. I was convinced it wasn’t going to end happily – this isn’t Jane Austen – and I just wanted to get it over with. I was reading with my hand in front of my mouth, predicting what was going to happen, upsetting myself with my own imagination. But even after all my suppositions the ending was far from what I had predicted.
This was the first book by Hardy I’d read and now I would definitely read another. I found it surprisingly easy to get into, I’m intrigued by the way he has a fictional geographical area all his books take place in, I like his style of writing – not too embellished with description but still finding time for a poetic turn of phrase and also how much he references Shakespeare and how I get to feel really cultured when I can place the quote.
I don’t think this book will have had quite as much of an effect on me as it did my mum. Already I can think back on it quite placidly, though while I was reading it I was incredibly involved. In a way I wish I’d given myself a few days off from reading to reflect on it rather than diving straight into the next book. But that’s just not me at all.