“The Mayor of Casterbridge”, by Thomas Hardy

Novel, 1886

Epic family tale of love, loss and singular misfortunes of Henchard, one of the two mayors of Casterbridge featured in the book. There’s enough incident and plot for a few novels here, in a wonderfully vivid setting in which the machinery, old tools and cowardly police give notice to the emergence of a more modern world. The descriptions and omniscient analysis will be too much for most modern readers, though they plot scenes in detail and give the fast paced events and unfolding tragedies a little room for the reader to absorb them and keep hold of their breath.

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