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Book #75

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community.   Hardy is an intricate man. You could be forgiven for giving up on this novel in the early stages; his depictions of rural and pastoral life and setting aren’t things which are overly relevant to us today. Rambling descriptions of nature, weather, and country living at the beginning of the novel seem endless, despite their beauty. His symbols, his biblical references, his absolute commitment to telling us about every stray leaf, are all maddening, and yet all profoundly important to the points he makes later on

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