Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Brilliantly written book about a pathetic, easily manipulated, naive yet honorable man whose admirable moral courage leads him to make consistently poor choices in ever increasing bleak circumstances. This is a titanic novel, full of allusion and metaphor, rife with biblical references, and nods to Hardy's literary ancestors, Milton, Wordsworth, and Shelley.
To quote goodreads reviewer christopher-h, "Modernization has come and displaced the old world romanticism of Jude Fawley and Thomas Hardy. Jude-the-Dreamer and Jude-the-Idealist have no place in this new order, because to transcend to his ideals means that he must die as Keats and Shelley so eloquently discovered." Modernization, indeed! This novel of Hardy's was banned from libraries and schools for years….best banned book ever.
It could be a disappointing, depressing read for many; one reviewer said, "read this if you're looking for the final push toward suicide." Yet the dilemma is eternal, and the writing is superb! I am and always will be a Thomas Hardy fan. Jude's story has become, in a very real sense Hardy's modern retelling of the Book of Job. [Note the word play too -- the "J" from 'Jude' and the "Ob" from 'Obscure':] .
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