Let’s see. We’ve got an intriguing cast of characters: a Scotsman, an orphan, a gullible woman, a simple man. They’ve all happened to find their way to a small village tucked away from the world – Casterbridge. In this small place, they find a number of interesting things: loves (and hates), family (and strangers), friends (and enemies). They also find darkness (and light), death (and life), regrets (and hope).
The storytelling is rather biased toward showing truths at all angles (even on how a person’s steps on the road can mean something). It presents the reader with a number of dichotomies, showing the many ironic sides of life. It tells you how you can have knowledge without wisdom, strength without physical capacity, power without position. What’s also very good about the storytelling: You have no idea what’s going to happen next (so you might as well dispel your notions of expectations for this book). Oh, and besides having the plot to chew on, I felt I was also being provided with many ideas to brood over and analyze.
Overall: It’s an ugly, informative, satirical view of an English countryside, with a great plot to boot. (I mean, really. The first chapter already seems like the climax!) It’s realistic, somewhat depressing, but very satisfying. Great read.