As a lifelong loather of the work of Thomas Hardy, Gert was amused to find this analysis of the misery factor in Thomas Hardy in The Guardian:
You need to click on the image to bring up the detail, but essentially it’s a tally of the various calamities and catastrophes that befall the characters in Hardy’s books. Jude the Obscure wins hands down, with a positive score for unhappy relationships (x2) death (x2) grinding poverty, suicide, murder (x 2) miscarriage, alcoholism and animal-genital-related injury.
The piece also surveys the characteristic cast of a Hardy novel and matches him for misery-factor against some contemporaries : Crime and Punishment runs a close second, but the prize still goes to Jude The Obscure.
And if you’re up for a bit more fun from The Guardian, head to Murakami the Agony Uncle, which we mentioned in a previous post. He covers cats, burping wives and adultery, among other pressing problems, and says if he could be anything he wanted, he’d like to be the wind! How very Murakami.