A couple of weeks ago I resolved to return to the novels of Thomas Hardy. As a Eng. Lit. ‘O’-Level student in the 70’s we’d covered a couple of his novels, and some poems; and I read most of them two or three decades ago. A friend of mine (thanks Timbo!) posted The Darkling Thrush (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Darkling_Thrush) on Facebook for the second time in a few years, and it seemed like time to move away from the diet of modern spy/crime/historical/fantasy fiction I’ve been reading for the past few years (e.g. CJ Sansom, Mick Herron, Robin Hobb, Ian Rankin, Stephen Donaldson, Peter James) and return to something from a different era.
I went for a kindle collection of all novels in publication date order. So have started with Desperate Remedies from 1872 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desperate_Remedies), although his second novel, the first was never published, so this is the correct starting point.
Hardy is noted for his lengthy, complex, punctuated sentence structure – and quite frankly it took a few chapters to get back into that style. But after a few late night reading sessions (a hot bath for my spine is always a good place!!) I’m there and really enjoying it again. The sentences just fall into place and the added bonus of reading on a kindle is the ability to highlight a word and get the dictionary definition (useful for writing that is nearly 200 years old).
The one thing I didn’t expect? After all the excitement today of the New Horizons fly by of Ultima Thule (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46729898) I didn’t expect to read those words in the novel. I’ll let you read the novel to find out where and why.