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'A tale of true tragedy - a man of potential brought down by his own fatal flaw - wonderfully vivid and strong' Joanna Trollope
Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. His father was a stonemason. He was brought up near Dorchester and trained as an architect. In 1868 his work took him to St Juliot's church in Cornwall where he met his wife-to-be, Emma. His first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, was rejected by publishers but Desperate Remedies was published in 1871 and this was rapidly followed by Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874). He also wrote many other novels, poems and short stories. Tess of the D'Urbervilles was published in 1891. His final novel was Jude the Obscure (1895). Hardy was awarded the Order of Merit in 1920 and the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature in 1912. His wife died in 1912 and he later married his secretary. Thomas Hardy died 11 January 1928.
"I could have picked any Hardy but this is wonderful. He is so good at portraying the highs and lows of human emotions and endeavours and setting them against the vast background of time and space that puts the smallness of the human condition into perspective" -- Jane Asher * Daily Express * "What I love about Hardy is that anybody of any age can get into his books because he's such a good writer. All you've got to do is start reading. I could have picked any of his books but this is my favourite" -- Matthew Wright (The Wright Stuff) * Daily Express * "It's the most tragic tale of a man who did a great wrong (he sells his wife and daughter) and pays for it later. The way Henchard arranges his life just so, only to see it wrecked and ruined by Fate - it makes me howl with pathos" -- author John Wright * Independent * "You have to hand it to Thomas Hardy. He knew how to come up with the blackest, most fascinating of characters (principally, corn merchant and mayor Michael Henchard), then put them in a cracking predicament" * Mirror * "A truly wonderful book" -- Actor Brian Cox * Independent on Sunday *