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Desperate Remedies (Penguin Classics) av…
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Desperate Remedies (Penguin Classics) (urspr publ 1871; utgåvan 1995)

av Thomas Hardy (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5742242,547 (3.59)52
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Desperate Remedies is Hardy's first book, which he published anonymously. It foreshadows many of Hardy's favorite themes including the predominant role played by nature in all of his work. It tells the story of a lady's maid who marries a charismatic and manipulative steward only to discover her true love was free to marry. And that her husbands first wife still lives.

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Medlem:zombiehooters
Titel:Desperate Remedies (Penguin Classics)
Författare:Thomas Hardy (Författare)
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1995), 464 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Desperate Remedies av Thomas Hardy (1871)

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Read as part of the local "Hardy Readers" book group, that is reading many of Hardy's published works, in order.

This is the first book in the series.

It starts with Cytherea and her brother Owen. Their family back history is given short shrift - the father falls in love, has a relationship, she leaves (the implication being to have his child), and he then marries another woman and has two children - Owen, and Cytherea, who was named after his first love.

Both parents die, leaving little money and Owen barely trained to earn a living, and Cytherea trained to do even less. A short term contract leads Owen to another job and Cytherea in love with Edward. When the need to get another job becomes pressing, Cytherea gets a job as a lady's maid, which she gets through words of mouth. She is separated from Owen who has to get elsewhere to complete his training and earn money. It soon becomes apparent that she is not suitable to be a lady's maid, but the woman she is now employed by (Miss Aldclyffe) is her father's first love. She is kept on as a companion, and a new maid is hired.

Miss Aldclyffe is a capricious character - seemingly prone to whims and changes in direction. After the death of her father, she hires a steward (Aeneas Manston) over some men who are eminently more qualified to do the job, including Edward, Cytherea's love. The implication being that Mantson is her son. Despite being married, Manston falls in love with Cytherea. After the death of his wife in an accidental fire, Manston blackmails Aldclyffe into helping him get Edward married off to his cousin so that the way to Cytherea is clear. Unable to seduce Cytherea, he resorts to blackmail and emotional pressure into making her marry him, even though she doesnt love him.

However, almost immediately after the marriage, doubt is shed over the death of Manston's first wife, and then things start to unravel for Manston.

Review/Commentary[return][return]As to the story itself, I liked it - mystery, true love, blackmail, intrigue, murder - really, what's not to like?[return][return]As far as I'm concerned, the thing I didnt like was the execution. He did lose me during volume 2, as something I dislike about Hardy's work is his reliance on/habit of "implication". Time and again things are implied (I want to read Tess again to see if it's just as annoying there as I remember too), with things rarely being made explicit or concrete. Manston 's wife does write to Aldclyffe to essentially blackmail her, and I think that's the most concrete statement about Manston's parentage in the whole book almost right to the end.[return][return]I have to admit that things did pick up in Volume 3, and did turn my review of the book around - it was not going to be a good review! If only the whole book had been this good! [return][return]Hardy was either not comfortable with or did not enjoy writing dialogue. Whole passages/pages are spent without a word of dialogue being put down on the page. [return][return]The book is split into sub chapters, some of which covering a matter of minutes or hours, some covering months. Each sub chapter had a heading detailing the time period it covered. I was trying to decide whether I liked this format or not, but decided that the pace suffered in switching from the minute to the epic scale and back within chapters.

As I mentioned earlier, Aldclyffe is capricious and moody. Some of her behaviour is explainable - e.g. her desire to bring Manston to the estate results in her excluding people more qualified for the job but some of it isnt. Her behaviour when she realises who Cytherea is is slightly disturbing, over the top, and uncomfortable - a scene that Hardy himself was not happy with (according to the notes) with the implication that it might be construed as a Lesbian scene, and not a scene I think he corrected particularly well. Her desire (and what she's prepared to resort to) to get Cytherea to marry Manston is not altogether clear until the very last pages of the book. She disappears for most of the second half of the book only to appear again in the last few chapters.

Cytherea is a strange character as well. In some ways she's strong - she rejects Manston for a long time, and evaluates the situation before she finally accepts. However, she's also quite "weak" - some might call it naive.

Edward was always going to be "the hero" and "the one true love" and is a quietly strong man, stuck in a moment waiting for his love.[return][return]Owen is much like his sister, weak and naive, and a little undeveloped. ( )
  nordie | Oct 14, 2023 |
Not bad at all. It did drag a bit toward the end with the slow reveals of the various bits of mystery. I much prefer simple tragedy from Hardy to this more Dickensian stuff. That's no slight to Dickens--I just like Hardy as Hardy, not Dickens. ( )
  judeprufrock | Jul 4, 2023 |
Sabriel by Garth Nix.
Sabriel Is a good fantasy book that explores a world of magic and necromancy, Sabriel is a girl who is pushed into a place that she is not ready yet, she accepts the role so she can find her father and save the Old Kingdom, Sabriel is my first Garth Nix book ( )
  Sterling4589 | Feb 14, 2023 |
This starts out slow and you're almost yawning, but by the end you're figuratively sitting on the edge of your seat. A brother and sister are left orphans when their architect father tumbles from the tower work he's supervising. The brother, not yet completed his architect apprenticeship, can't yet support his sister. Cytherea advertises first as a governess, and finally as a lady's maid, to try to support herself (this is mid-nineteenth century England). The crabby rich woman who hires her, hates her as a maid, but Cytherea softens her heart with her sweetness and grace, and allows herself to be talked into remaining as her companion. There are a lot of secrets going on with this rich lady, though, and the author is a master of twists and turns of plot. I could hardly wait to learn all the answers to my questions about Manston, and Cytherea's tocaya. A thriller mystery that does not disappoint. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
3.5 stars, rounded down. Still a very well written novel.

Desperate Remedies was Thomas Hardy’s first published novel, and while failing to live up to his later works, it foreshadows the brilliant author he would come to be. In a Thomas Hardy channels Wilkie Collins fashion, this novel is a bit of a mystery novel, and lacks the depth of idea development that makes Hardy one of my favorite authors. By three-quarters of the way through, I had guessed at most of the riddles that had been set for us and had a clear idea of exactly where the plot was going.

You might think this would have made the reading less enjoyable, but I find Hardy’s remarkable character development and descriptions are fascinating, even in a lesser work. He can describe an activity, in this novel it was cider pressing, with such amazing detail, that you can picture vividly the men at work and thrill with understanding the mechanics of a skill that is literally now lost in time.

Thrust into poverty at the death of her father, a young girl, Cytherea, is forced to seek employment as a lady’s maid, and takes up that station with a woman who turns out to be the love of her father’s life who slipped through his fingers under strange circumstances. Cytherea is an exceptionally lovely girl, and she becomes the object of desire for two men; but her love-life proves to be anything but a simple and straight-forward affair.

There is a great deal of backroom plotting and inexplicable interference in Cytherea’s life by her lady employer, Mrs. Aldclyffe, some false information to overcome and some errors in judgment that make one cringe. The story is neatly tied at the end, no pesky strands left unresolved. From another author, this book might have garnered an extra star. In this case, the author is Thomas Hardy, and the comparison cannot help but be made with his masterpieces, in which case this book falls a tad short.

I am on a quest to read all of Hardy’s works, and I am pleased to have read this one. It was a pleasant way to ease myself back into a reading mode, something I had left behind me, out of necessity, for the last few months.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Thomas Hardyprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Bentinck, AnnaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Desperate Remedies is Hardy's first book, which he published anonymously. It foreshadows many of Hardy's favorite themes including the predominant role played by nature in all of his work. It tells the story of a lady's maid who marries a charismatic and manipulative steward only to discover her true love was free to marry. And that her husbands first wife still lives.

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