13. Jude, The Obscure
What an incredibly sad story! I cannot believe how sad. One thing after another. Grief upon grief. Maybe not the best thing to read in the middle of a global pandemic, but I found myself so engaged that at one particular scene toward the end of the audiobook, I cried out loud while on my walk, "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I don't want to give away the plot, but it is about a man, Jude Fawley, who is a poor orphan raised by his aunt but has ambitions to be an educated man and go into the church. It is about that plan being thwarted by decisions that change his life trajectory.
This is my fourth Hardy novel having read The Return of the Native, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and The Mayor of Casterbridge in the past. The guy can write, but they are all pretty sad.
Here is what is said of Hardy's works:
Considered a Victorian realist, Hardy examines the social constraints on the lives of those living in Victorian England, and criticises those beliefs, especially those relating to marriage, education, and religion that limited people's lives and caused unhappiness. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hardy#Marriage_and_novel_writing)Yes, that is this novel in a nutshell.