The Short Stories

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00am

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The Short Stories
by Thomas Hardy (read by Richard Mitchley)
The Copywrite Group (audiobook)

In honour of filmmaker Michael Winterbottom's latest Thomas Hardy adaptation, Trishna (Tess of the D'Urbervilles set in Rajasthan), I thought I would try this double-header of Hardy's short stories. Included in this download are two works: The Withered Arm and An Imaginative Woman, both lasting about an hour. Set in Casterbridge, The Withered Arm tells the story of Farmer Lodge's new young wife, Gertrude, and his jilted lover, Rhoda Brook, who bore him an illegitimate son. Ostracised, Rhoda obsesses jealously on the 'lovely' and 'ladylike' Gertrude, eventually dreaming a vision of a 'shockingly distorted' Rhoda visiting her at night. Eerily, Gertrude has a similar nightmare, and visits Rhoda to show her a disfigured arm. The two women unite and try to find a cure to this gothic ailment. An Imaginative Woman is slightly less haunting. Its heroine is Ella Marchmill, a poet who uses the pseudonym John Ivy. Married to a cold, disinterested man, she finds herself falling in love with fellow poet Robert Trewe. The only problem is that she has never met her beau - he was the previous lodger at a holiday home occupied by the Marchmills.