Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. He wrote novels and poetry, much of which is set in the semi-imaginary county of Wessex. His novels include Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D'Urbervilles(1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895). He published his first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems, in 1898 and continued to publish collections of poems until his death on 11 January 1928.
Hardy's classic 1891 novel, about a young woman's attempt at redemption following a scandal, demonstrates his fatalistic view regarding free will. Audie Award winner Simon Vance's reading is straightforward, well paced, and clear, even when the characters speak in West Country dialect. This is an excellent choice for public libraries wanting to boost their classics collections, and the accompanying full-text PDF ebook (which can be played in tandem with the MP3 recording) makes it useful also for high school and academic libraries. [Audio clip available through www.tantor.com; alternate recordings recently available from Blackstone Audio (12 CDs. unabridged. 2008. ISBN 978-1-4332-1499-8. $110; 1 MP3-CD. ISBN 978-1-4332-1500-1. $44.95) and Naxos AudioBooks (14 CDs. unabridged. 2008. ISBN 978-962-634-867-3. $89.98).--Ed.]--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., Zion, IL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.