Life's Little Ironies Epub Ü Life's Little Epub /

The phrase `life's little ironies' is now proverbial but it was coined by Hardy as the title for this his third volume of short stories While the tales and sketches reflect many of the strengths and themes of the great novels they are powerful works in their own right Unified by his quintessential irony strong visual sense and engaging characters they deal with the tragic and the humorous the metaphysical and the magical The collection displays the whole range of Hardy's art as a writer of fiction from fantasy to uncompromising realism and from the loving re creation of a vanished rural world to the repressions of fin de siecle bourgeois life


10 thoughts on “Life's Little Ironies

  1. says:

    Sometimes everything goes wrong Or in the case of this book everything always goes wrong It was weird how I enjoyed thinking of all the ways the story could go south I'm not a masochist I did have to read a flufferoony simultaneously to counter balance all the unhappy endings but I see that excellent unhappy endings are very satisfying and of course Hardy has wonderful verisimilitude and control over his plots I thoroughly enjoyed having this sort of Collection of Bad Ends Some of them were quite humourous The one about the evenly matched couples for instance I'm beginning to see that all my grousing about short stories is really missing the mark It's not that I don't like them it's that I only like a certain kind this kind Hardy manages to hook my interest and draw characters and scenes and themes that feel bigger than the sum of their pages Also he places them in a continuum of some kind here with the person asking for news of his old town folk and with the theme of irony It gives a sense of depth that I often miss in other short stories Anyway I highly recommend


  2. says:

    This particular collection of stories from Thomas Hardy which I only read for the first time two years ago at the start of my Thomas Hardy challenge – are very well named Hardy is a master at delivering a soft little punch to the guts as his story draws to a close I say soft punch because so often the reader can see it coming – and still Hardy knew how to ring every last little bit of drama and emotion out of his characters I love Hardy’s world as many regular readers of this blog will be aware and I thoroughly enjoyed re visiting these stories which I had remembered so very well from two years ago Funnily enough however my favourites then and now are different Previously I had particularly enjoyed the stories ‘An Imaginative woman’ and ‘ ‘A tragedy of two ambitions’ both of which I still really loved but this time I particularly appreciated the pathos of the story entitled ‘The Son’s Veto’ about a middle aged woman partially crippled who had married outside her station and moved from her beloved home village to a London suburb now widowed her growing son brought up as a gentleman puts the block on any future happiness she could have had when he makes her promise not to marry her former sweetheart a grocer who she has unexpectedly met again“When she had opened the door she found Sam on the step and he lifted her bodily on his strong arm across the little forecourt into his vehicle Not a soul was visible or audible in the infinite length of the straight flat highway with its ever waiting lamps converging to points in each direction The air was as country air at this hour and the stars shone except to the north eastward where there was a whitish light – the dawn Sam carefully placed her in the seat and drove onThey talked as they had talked in old days Sam pulling himself up now and then when he thought himself too familiar More than once she said with misgiving that she wondered if she ought to have indulged in the freak ‘But I am so lonely in my house’ she added ‘and this makes me so happy’ “The volume concludes with ‘A few Crusted characters’ – apparently originally entitled ‘Wessex Folk’ – it was this section I had remembered least well – they are a wonderful group of sketches – highlighting he passage of time with oral stories told by a group of people sharing a coach – stories of farce tragedy and rural traditions that take the nostalgic reader back to familiar places and family names of Under the Greenwood Tree –one of my favourite Hardy novels It happened on Sunday after Christmas the last Sunday they ever played in Longpuddle church gallery as it turned out though they didn't know it then The players formed a very good band almost as good as the Mellstock parish players that were led by the Dewys and that's saying a great deal There was Nicholas Puddingcome the leader with the first fiddle there was Timothy Thomas the bass viol man John Biles the tenor fiddler Dan'l Hornhead with the serpent Robert Dowdle with the clarionet and Mr Nicks with the oboe all sound and powerful musicians and strong winded men they that blowed For that reason they were very much in demand Christmas week for little reels and dancing parties for they could turn a jig or a hornpipe out of hand as well as ever they could turn out a psalm and perhaps better not to speak irreverent In short one half hour they could be playing a Christmas carol in the squire's hall to the ladies and gentlemen and drinking tea and coffee with 'em as modest as saints and the next at the Tinker's Arms blazing away like wild horses with the Dashing White Sergeant to nine couple of dancers and and swallowing rum and cider hot as flameThese stories about family social ambition and its consequences are deeply ironic Many of the characters are tragic the misguided actions of themselves or others impacting upon their fortunes In these stories we encounter The Great Exhibition of 1851 and the dawn of the railway we see rural life juxtaposed with a smart London life Many of the themes that are present in Hardy's novels are present in these hugely readable stories So often with Hardy’s shorter fiction the scope of a thirty page story is not dissimilar to that of his novels years pass characters age and many of these stories could be stretched out to the length of a novel I certainly think Hardy was a particularly good short story writer within the confines of the genre he manages to create whole communities and families trace histories over many years while keeping the narrative flowing brilliantly


  3. says:

    After I had read Far From the Madding Crowd I was determined to avoid Thomas Hardy for the rest of my life such was my disappointment with a book which had such a glowing reputation However in the interim a couple of reading challenges have required short story collections and I found myself gravitating towards the offerings of some favourite Librivox readers In January of this year Wessex Tales absolutely captivated me This collection comes in a close secondThere is a distinct Celtic flavour to some of the stories I am reminded of the tall tales and ghost stories I heard when as a young bride I first visited the elderly relatives of my in laws on Cape Breton Island descendants of those who had immigrated 150 years earlier from the Scottish isles They were salt of the earth people who had cut their teeth on the jigs and reels and ghost stories of their native land and loved to share their culture with neighbours and strangers alike It seems as if with each re telling the tall tales grew taller and the ghost stories ghastlyThe stories are all stamped with Hardy's trademark irony to be sure Particularly enjoyable is the final section of the book a series of nine very short stories sub titled A Few Crusted Characters in which a former resident of the Wessex village travels on a public van to revisit the land of his youth after many years abroad As is their wont the locals with whom he shares the trip needing to know if he is stranger or kin strike up a conversation and treat him to stories of the few local folk that he remembers from his childhoodThis collection is a perfectly delightful way to pass an hour or three as the saying goes in these parts What a treat


  4. says:

    Thomas Hardy never fails to grab my attention with the descriptive passages of the countrysideI loved them all and found 'The Son's Veto' to be Hardy's favouriteA few crusted characters was wonderful in the fact it had a returning narativeWonderful characters and some very sad tales


  5. says:

    The coinage of the phrase Life's little ironies by Hardy is not a surprise Ironies are the quintessence of Hardy The stories in this book never fail to move me And since my life has had many little ironies I'd always flow and somewhat live through these words Hardy is the creator of some of the most cathartic works I love this book


  6. says:

    Wonderful collection of gloomy short stories typical Hardy They are very powerful portrayals of human frailty


  7. says:

    Enjoyed these short stories by Thomas Hardy published in 1894 Each story had a twist at the end Thomas Hardy is notoriously a depressing writer but I still love his writing with its unexpected endingsListened on Librivox


  8. says:

    Mostly Hardy's usual gloom and doom but a few humorous stories too I must say that Hardy was a cracking writer Much the easiest and flowing prose I have read in a long time Modern writers could learn much from him


  9. says:

    I enjoyed reading this Ironically I had to throw away my copy It somehow found its way into my daughter's full training potty


  10. says:

    I can't say this was just ok as the stories are so well written but it's also inaccurate to say I liked it Maybe 25the whole thrust of this book is about bad decisions in marriage wrecking people's lives He's very opposed to marriage out of necessity but it seems a little biased as men could walk away from relationships without ending in marriage with much ease then women who were left literally holding the baby Women who 'steal' men off other women also come in for some harsh consequences as do women who marry without love sad but in a society where there were no other real options it seems understandable then Hardy makes out Maybe it's just my impression but it seems like Hardy's men who misbehave are treated with humour and understanding except for being so foolish as to marry women they've gotten pregnant that's a really stupid idea he says but the women are really slated for every ungenerous deed