Thomas Hardy has long been a favoured author for me. I like the way he choses to write about real people, rather than the upper-class twits who were lauded by so many of his contemporaries. I also find resonance in his philosophy of life: that the universe is configured to make us miserable and little we do makes any real difference. It is almost as though he tried to describe entropy in human terms, though I doubt he ever used such a word.
Our eponymous mayor makes many mistakes, acts foolishly and selfishly on occasion, but he is not evil. There is a horrible inevitability about the way retribution for his deeds is visited upon him. It is nigh-on impossible not to feel some sympathy with him. His best efforts to make amends for his wrongdoings are misinterpretted and only make matters worse. How many of us have been there?
Most of all, The Mayor Of Casterbridge is a well thought out and well written yarn. If you’ve never read it, then I commend it to you. The ebook is available for free download at http://www.gutenberg.org/