Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a beautifully depressing book. I kinda want to call him the Job of Marriage. Or rather, the Jude of Marriage, because, let's face it, he is or should be an archetype. :)
For those of you not acquainted with Thomas Hardy, he's primarily a poet but he is best known for his novels. And, if I might be so bold, for good reason. He's almost Dickensonian in his command of the pathos, but more than that, he's a naturalist with his thumb on the pulse of the times.
Those times, the 1890's, presaged the Roaring Twenties in a big way, giving us all, in bright glaring colors, the horrors of what we call MARRIAGE.
What free love? No free love. The deadly social structure of the times forced everyone into bad matches for no better reason than custom. And custom rules all. If you're stuck in endless misery and want to get out of it, doing so only brings approbation, poverty, loss of dreams, and ultimately a fate worse than death.
Death is a wonderful release.
Ah, the joys of Marriage.
We can read this book today with a HUGE sigh of relief. We can point to it and feel good about ourselves because at least we didn't have to live through THIS tragedy.
I can see all the young kids growing up during WWI reading this novel and going, "SCREW THIS" right before they ushered in the Flappers. Free love, yo!
Truly, a classic novel. Everyone should have the "joy" of it. :)
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