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Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Thomas Hardy
Adult Fiction HARDY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Anna Bentinck ratchets up the melodrama for this full-blooded reading of Hardy's classic--a staple of high-school English classes everywhere. Students desperate to penetrate Hardy's notoriously slow masterpiece should turn to Bentinck, who gives it an intense emotional coloring. She makes Hardy sound like a brother to the Brontë sisters: passionate and brooding. Bentinck alternates between a crisp, precise narrative voice that sounds like Helen Mirren, and Tess's own voice, quavering, shallow and meek. Bentinck retains her composure throughout, and her assured performance may be a welcome rescue for struggling 11th graders across the country. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Hardy's bleak, relentless tale of an innocent country girl's brief, perilous journey on our blighted planet is not for the faint of heart. Born into a weak family, seduced by an unscrupulous admirer, and beset by a series of tragic coincidences, courageous Tess surrenders herself to the crushing force of fate with heartbreaking simplicity. There is a certain aptness to having a male take the part of the anonymous narrator, almost as if he were assuming the author's role. As such, Peter Firth reads both the general narration and most of the dialog with sensitivity and verve. However, his interpretation of Tess is unconvincing, at times bordering on parody. As Tess is the focus of the story, this is a major flaw in an otherwise attractive program. Recommended only for collections without Davina Porter's rendition from Recorded Books (1994).Sister M. Anna Falbo, Villa Maria Coll. Lib., Buffalo, N.Y.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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