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Editorial Reviews

This is why you listen, or why you should: Because a good performance is more than an easy way to "read" a book. And a great performance enhances the original, no matter how great (or not) it may be. Jenny Sterlin animates Hardy's characters without calling attention to herself - that is without raising thoughts of "here's a woman trying to sound like a man." She encourages continued listening when continued reading might be difficult; for example, when Sue and Jude are at their most exasperating. Sterlin's performance is recommended to all listeners - not just fans of Hardy or classic British literature. After all, this is why you listen. Or why you should.

Publisher's Summary

When the great Thomas Hardy published this heart-wrenching novel, he had no idea it would be his last. But the book stirred so much controversy and protest, Hardy vowed to never write fiction again. Jude the Obscure tells the story of a stonemason, tricked into a loveless marriage, who craves a formal education and a finer existence. Separated from his wife, Jude begins a new life with his cousin, and the couple defies social convention at every turn.

Public Domain (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about Jude the Obscure

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Sue drives me nuts!

So extremely insightful and forward thinking of Hardy but, literary merits aside, I couldn't abide Sue as a character. Drove me nuts. But why she drive me nuts would be why so many others love her. Very well narrated and was effortless to listen and appreciate (aside from Sue's antics). Not my favourite Hardy novel, but overall glad to have listened to it.

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  • D. Byrd
  • 17-10-2015

A sad and world-changing book

I found this title on a list of books that will change the way you think. And, indeed, published in the late 1800s it must have been a shock to many at the time. It so criticizes and even destroys the notion of marriage as a universal good. Today, in North America at least, we all except the idea that the first person you marry might not be the last. But this book must've been one of the first to place the idea of righteous divorce in print, and, for that reason it must've been one of the first to change the great secret that many marriages are unhappy, previously only hidden in the hearts of so many. Poor Jude and poor Sue. My heart broke for them, reading this.

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  • circa24
  • 30-06-2018

One of Hardy's Most Powerful Tales

Not everyone finds Thomas Hardy to their taste. However, if you like Hardy's other works, such as the Mayor of Caserbridge or Tess of the Dubivilles, you will like Jude the Obscure. Anyone who has reached for the stars only to find reality and circumstance standing in their way will be able to empathize with Jude, the labourer who dreams of being a scholar. He is the good man who makes one bad choice early in life and spends his remaining days burdened by that decision. Great reader. Throughly enjoyed the book.

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  • mike s.
  • 19-02-2020

Bleak, but a great voice artist

What’s the point in reviewing a book written in 1895? I’m only doing it to praise the voice actor. I’ve liked other Thomas Hardy novels. I kept hoping that something good or even mildly pleasant would happen. I’m guessing this was Hardy’s last book because he didn’t think much of the world. He certainly seemed to hate woman. The two females in this book are perhaps the worse women ever written. Bleak and more bleak.

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  • Sohairko
  • 08-11-2020

Extraordinary

Beautiful, so beautiful a story, liked it so much. One of Hardy's masterpieces. Recommended, thanks to Jenny Sterlin for the touch she added.

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  • valerie
  • 17-03-2013

Ugh!

This Nartor is amazing!! If you like the english accent she is great I think I read another book by her about a scottish family. I enjoyed her reading but not the book at all. I finally stopped listenin, it was just too depressing, I just couldn't hang in long enough to find out if any good was going to happen to this guy

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