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--Which is what you'd generally expect from any Thomas Hardy work.
What sets this version apart from other versions, is the magnificent performance by Jilly Bond (whom I first encountered from her work on Lucy Dillon's novels). Sometimes screechy (peasants running riot and singing drunken tunes), always passionate, Bond turns in an emotional and truthful rendition of this Hardy novel.
As always, what stands in the way of a perfect 5-star rating is Hardy's over-the-top beating down on the reader/listener's head of tragedy, Tragedy, TRAGEDY! With so much weeping, recriminations, self-loathing, and poorly considered choices that the listener becomes quite inured to the emotional devastation all around of the characters. Still, he is a brilliant writer with lovely phrases, exceptional wording, and imagery the likes of which you will find nowhere else.
Bond's narration, however, makes this the very best of versions of this work on Audible. Worth the time, even worth the wallowing through that which could have been self-edited, this book will transport you to a world where fear and longing eclipse character, and the oh so human appetite for joy drives all to commit the tragic.
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