Customer Reviews for

Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(40)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Tragically Wonderful

Tess is one of the more depressive novels I've read lately. My wife will attest to the fact that I have a strange affinity to depressing stories. With that in mind, let me say that I really enjoyed this book.

The writing was at times a bit too much for me for the re...
Tess is one of the more depressive novels I've read lately. My wife will attest to the fact that I have a strange affinity to depressing stories. With that in mind, let me say that I really enjoyed this book.

The writing was at times a bit too much for me for the reason that I get annoyed at many 18th and 19th century novels...namely, that Hardy focuses far too much on minute descriptions and in-depth analysis of setting and location. Don't get me wrong, I love a vivid and lush environment and I much prefer a fleshed out character to a flat one. I just sometimes feel that all of the flowery descriptions slow down the story telling element too much. There were a few paragraphs/pages that I tried to skim through in order to get to the next relevant points of plot. Still, I don't know that I'd want to edit out the descriptive text since it does comment on the narrative itself in a metafictional sort of way.

The main characters in this book are wonderfully composed. They are absolutely and completely frustrating but they are superbly crafted nonetheless. I wanted to smack each of the main characters on many occasions.

Tess is far too willing to simply be acted upon and then to bemoan her fate. Alec is an absolute pig (although towards the end of our experience with him, it's debatable just how awful he truly is). And Angel is far too inconsistent to be liked at all...at first he seems almost lovable...then he deserves to be hated...then he seems slightly adequate...then he becomes repulsive again...he's just far too wishy-washy in his behavior and ideals to ever be fully redeemable.

The story itself falls into the realm of realism taken to its extreme. The plot elements felt almost like the Bible story of Job...whatever could go wrong willgo wrong. And even though Tess was generally found to be almost whining about her circumstances rather than trying to make things better for herself, the story was still rather thought provoking since it makes you wonder just how you would handle horrific circumstances and what can truly be done about them. Is it better to try and solve the problem or better to just let fate and happenstance take its toll.

Personally, I try to make the best out of any bad situation...perhaps that's why I like "depressing" stories...they make me realize my life could be worse and they help inspire me to always think of the best possible outcome.

I'm sure this book won't be for everyone. Those who want a happy fairy-tale romp through a girl's life would do better to stay away. Those who are easily frustrated by fallen characters, will find themselves hating all of the primary roles in this book. The book isn't terribly lengthy (~300-400?) but some of the longer descriptive passages do crawl by at times.

Still, I whole-heartedly recommend this book to those who are willing to look imperfection and awful situations square in the face and come away smiling. It's not a happy book. It's not a terribly fast past book (which can also be frustrating...I wanted to shout Just do it to Tess many times).

But it is a wonderfully rich book and definitely worth getting into.

posted by theokester on June 15, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

This book sucks

This book is so hard to read. I have to read it for my high school English class and the dialect is crazy. It is so difficult! I mean, not to spoil it for anyone or anything, but I didn't even realize that she was raped. Really and truly, no idea. If you are going ...
This book is so hard to read. I have to read it for my high school English class and the dialect is crazy. It is so difficult! I mean, not to spoil it for anyone or anything, but I didn't even realize that she was raped. Really and truly, no idea. If you are going for a book that is not hard to understand and that is enjoyable, I'm sorry to say, but do not go for this book. Have a great life everyone! ~Krysti

posted by Anonymous on December 15, 1999

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 12 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted June 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Tragically Wonderful

    Tess is one of the more depressive novels I've read lately. My wife will attest to the fact that I have a strange affinity to depressing stories. With that in mind, let me say that I really enjoyed this book.

    The writing was at times a bit too much for me for the reason that I get annoyed at many 18th and 19th century novels...namely, that Hardy focuses far too much on minute descriptions and in-depth analysis of setting and location. Don't get me wrong, I love a vivid and lush environment and I much prefer a fleshed out character to a flat one. I just sometimes feel that all of the flowery descriptions slow down the story telling element too much. There were a few paragraphs/pages that I tried to skim through in order to get to the next relevant points of plot. Still, I don't know that I'd want to edit out the descriptive text since it does comment on the narrative itself in a metafictional sort of way.

    The main characters in this book are wonderfully composed. They are absolutely and completely frustrating but they are superbly crafted nonetheless. I wanted to smack each of the main characters on many occasions.

    Tess is far too willing to simply be acted upon and then to bemoan her fate. Alec is an absolute pig (although towards the end of our experience with him, it's debatable just how awful he truly is). And Angel is far too inconsistent to be liked at all...at first he seems almost lovable...then he deserves to be hated...then he seems slightly adequate...then he becomes repulsive again...he's just far too wishy-washy in his behavior and ideals to ever be fully redeemable.

    The story itself falls into the realm of realism taken to its extreme. The plot elements felt almost like the Bible story of Job...whatever could go wrong willgo wrong. And even though Tess was generally found to be almost whining about her circumstances rather than trying to make things better for herself, the story was still rather thought provoking since it makes you wonder just how you would handle horrific circumstances and what can truly be done about them. Is it better to try and solve the problem or better to just let fate and happenstance take its toll.

    Personally, I try to make the best out of any bad situation...perhaps that's why I like "depressing" stories...they make me realize my life could be worse and they help inspire me to always think of the best possible outcome.

    I'm sure this book won't be for everyone. Those who want a happy fairy-tale romp through a girl's life would do better to stay away. Those who are easily frustrated by fallen characters, will find themselves hating all of the primary roles in this book. The book isn't terribly lengthy (~300-400?) but some of the longer descriptive passages do crawl by at times.

    Still, I whole-heartedly recommend this book to those who are willing to look imperfection and awful situations square in the face and come away smiling. It's not a happy book. It's not a terribly fast past book (which can also be frustrating...I wanted to shout Just do it to Tess many times).

    But it is a wonderfully rich book and definitely worth getting into.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    Classic and a good read, but a bit depressing.

    Tess of the D'Urbervilles is definetly one of the better books I have read. I think everyone should read it, but it does drag at some parts, and seems rather depressing overall. It is definetly a book meant to draw attention to the hardships of rural life during the 1800's, and has many twists throughout the book that would keep you entertained. I do recommend this book to anyone who likes classics.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    Please read the alternative

    I understand Tess to be classic Hardy: well-written, evocative, cynical. I find it interesting that the context of such a famous book seems to remain obscured today. Tess is a response--part of a dialogue. This book was published approximately ten years after George MacDonald's Paul Faber: Surgeon, and is a clear response. The books could hardly be more different, but the most fundamental and significant plot elements are common to both books. Hardy actually makes a veiled reference that you will enjoy during the scene immediately following the marriage that essentially quotes a passage from the same event in Paul Faber--only flatly disagrees with MacDonald. Both are good authors, and you will lose nothing in quality when you venture to MacDonald, but where Hardy finds despair, irony, and ultimately destruction MacDonald finds forgiveness, hope, and victory of the divine in humanity. Please read both, if only to choose for yourself which more accurately represents the world in which you live.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2006

    A Traditional Hardy

    Hardy has a reputation for depressing, tragic books. However, i think it is important that we read at least one of his books if only to see how the world deals with loss, with grief, with sin. when things go wrong for Tess, how does she respond? How would you respond? I hope you would not make the same choices she makes. A dark depressing feel lies over the plot like an ominous cloud. The first chapter or so was rather random, but it focuses on Tess as it continues.Actually when you look back on the opening, it is actually quite genius.HArdy opens telling you of the area, Tess'family, and the recent events. The middle season of sunshine and happiness was my favorite, because it had a lighter playful feeling, showing what Tess' life could have been. The ending is very depressing, but it is the only way to satisfy the innate knowledge that everyone has of justice. I cried for Tess several times, hating the men Hardy placed in her path. Also it is heart-wrenching to look back at her one mistake with Angel clare. Overall a worthwhile read, but not something to reread over and over again. And defintiely not something to read when you are already depressed. You will become so depressed that you sink into the Pit of Despair.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    Must read at least once in your life.

    The book starts a little slow but once it picks up it is a very easy read. You don't want to ever put it down and your heart goes out to all the characters at one time. I enjoyed it so much until the end when I wanted to convice my self it was another book i was reading. I really wanted a different ending for all the characters but i know it could end no other way than what Hardy wanted. But i will always recommend this book despite my pain towards the ending, It is a MUST READ book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2004

    Tess of D'Urbervilles

    It has a slow start, but once it picks up you'll be absolutely consumed by novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2003

    This books reachs your soul

    Thomas Hardy was an absolute genius for writing such a classic. The plot was just terrific I couldn't put it down. As the story progressed I felt like I was right there experiencing things with the characters for the first time. If you didn't like the book, then why read it and then give it a bad review? This book is challenging and long, and for those of you who found it boring, your mind is not capable of understanding what true, good literature is.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2001

    Take Tess Along on Vacation

    Thomas Hardy' s Tess of the D'urbervilles is an absorbing novel. The author's language and never-ending description of the beautiful landscape of London requires the reader's constant attention, making this a novel only fit to be read when snuggled in solitude. Having picked Tess to read for an English class, I was limited to the amount of time I had to complete it. I would not recommend following my example, because if you wish to get the most out of it, time to reflect on the complexity of Tess's character, as well as time to appreciate Hardy's ironic sympathy and comprehension for a female character in his era is necessary. I was most impressed with Hardy's writing style which allowed myself as a reader to form vivid pictures and precice understanding of the story. Enjoy as an ideal vacation novel!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2001

    Great Book to read!!!

    I read this book as a teenager and as a grown up woman...and liked it all the times. I like the way, Hardy describes Tess's never ending love for Angel! I think the book is worth reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1