The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
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In a drunken stupor, Michael Henchard auctions off his own wife Susan and their daughter for a pittance to a sailor named Newsom. The following morning, hung over and unwell, Henchard realizes only too late that he can't find where they were taken.
Eighteen years after that fateful day, Newsom dies, and Susan goes in search of her first husband, and finds that his sobriety has created new opportunities for him. But her re-emergence has severe and unintended consequences not just for the couple, but for the entire town of Casterbridge.
The Mayor of Casterbridge, among Hardy's greatest works, made its effect known even to the author as he was writing it: he once confided to a friend that it was "the only tragedy that made [me] weep."