The Mayor of Casterbridge, one of Thomas Hardy's most powerful novels, opens with a scene of shocking heartlessness. In a fit of drunken rage, Michael Henchard, an out-of-work laborer, sells his wife and baby daughter to a passing sailor. When the horror of what he has done dawns on him the next day, he determines to set his life on a different path, and through years of hard work and ambition rises to become the rich and respectable mayor of his town. Secret guilt continues to haunt this proud and brooding man, however, and when his wife and grown daughter return to Casterbridge, Henchard is set on the path to a dramatic confrontation with his own deeply flawed nature. Hardy's keen insight into the course of wayward lives and his instinctive feel for the beauty of the rural landscape come together in this unforgettable portrait of a tragic hero.
About the Author
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born in Dorset, England, son of a stonemason. Though a gifted student, he was unable to afford to attend university. He was apprenticed to an architect at age sixteen and worked in London for several years before returning to Dorset and dedicating himself to writing novels and poems. He is most famous for his novels Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude the Obscure, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
“Hardy’s world is a world that can never disappear.” —Margaret Drabble