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This audiobook is about the rise and fall of Michael Henchard. While out-of-work he gets drunk at a fair and impulsively sells his wife and baby for five guineas to a sailor. Eighteen years later he is reunited with his wife and daughter, who discover that he has gained wealth and respect and is now the most prominent man in Casterbridge. Though he attempts to make amends he is no less impulsive and once again loses everything due to bad luck and his violent, selfish and vengeful nature.
In this dramatic audiobook, Hardy sympathetically portrays a deeply flawed tragic hero, searching for love and acceptance from his community. It poses the question: do we shape our own fate or is the outcome inevitable? This tragic tale is played out against the vivid backdrop of a close-knit Dorsetshire town.
Thomas Hardy was an English writer and one of the most significant novelists and poets of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was greatly influenced by Charles Dickens and William Wordsworth.
In 1952, Tony Britton came to major attention after his role as Rameses in The Firstborn at London's Winter Garden Theatre. A renowned classical stage star, he has also appeared in numerous British films since the 1950s; most notably Operation Amsterdam (1959), Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) and The Day of the Jackal (1973). In 1975, he won the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Nearly Man. From 1983-1990, he starred in the long running BBC sitcom Don't Wait Up alongside Nigel Havers and Dinah Sheridan. In 2013 he performed in a Gala Performance of King Lear at the Old Vic, London. Over the years Tony has lent his soothing voice to a huge collection of audio productions including Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn and Anthony Trollope's An Old Man's Love.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Joseph R on 12-22-09
Tony Britten did a bang-up job as narrator with this book. He has the voice of a crusty old English butler holding forth after work regaling the staff at the kitchen table. Michael Henchard led a rough and tumble life so "The Mayor of Casterbridge" is a rough and tumble story. I hadn't read this book since the seventies so while I knew the story, the details were hazy. Britten's narration refreshed my memory and illuminated details which eluded me when I only read. So I must say, as my eyesight deteriorates, there are compensating benefits in this age of audio books.
Many books written at this time were about the ruling classes, the landed and educated. The characters in this book like many other Hardy works are working folk, tradesmen and farmers...men and women with dirt under their fingernails. There is scarce a member of the gentry to be found. There are enough twists, turns and setbacks in the plot to even satisfy the modern sensibilities. The hero is a man who sold his wife and daughter to a sailor. No lords or ladies here. Yet, the hero is a likable and good man...hard but almost noble...and he pays a price. When the wife and daughter return, the tale becomes complicated with truths told; truths untold; truths at long last revealed; promises made and promises both kept and not kept. At the end the day, Thomas Hardy makes me feel I know these folks; have a kind of understanding of their ways which along with spending several pleasant hours is all that one can demand from a novelist.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By Kenneth on 11-21-11
One of my Favorites
I absolutely adore Thomas Hardy. His story telling is just so real. His characters are multidimensional and so vibrant. He takes a look at the working class with an eye of sincerity that most authors simply lack. This was one of my favorite books. Unlike in many of his other books, Hardy starts right out with the meat of the story and keeps the number of characters to a minimum. The story moves along with many twists and turns and completely kept my attention.
The narrator was delightful as well. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book and highly recommend it to anyone who has ever liked classical literature.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Richard on 09-02-11
Really impressive characterisations - I couldn't follow every word of the countrymen's conversations, so convincing is the accent but it made one feel as if amongst the listeners in the pub or street...really well read and of course a terrific story-telling. I'm now looking for other books by the same reader.
There is a review here that nearly put me off as it refers to trouble with the recording. I can only say that I found the recording quality faultless.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Judy on 10-28-09
Outstanding narration, particularly the characterisation of Henchard and Farfray - rivetting.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful