My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A Laodicean is a bit of a departure for Hardy, in that he deals with a contemporary time period, rather than a previous, although the subject matter remains true to one of his themes, that of people attempting to shrug off the yoke of religious and social convention. In fact, the entire tone of the novel is set in the title, as someone who is indifferent to these very subjects.
For its time it was a bit of a radical novel, putting forward concepts that contractual marriage was unnecessary and even outdated, and that organized Christianity had out-lived its relevance in society.
One has to wonder if, in fact, Hardy was a mysogynist, because certainly he doesn’t cast women in a particularly good light, portraying them as flighty, inconstant and coy. Perhaps, though, this was a nature cultivated by middle to upper class society and considered the norm. Difficult to say from this historical vantage.
Still, very much a novel worth exploring.by