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The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

The Return of the Native (1878)

by Thomas Hardy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,36953814 (3.94)274
  1. 20
    Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (Porua)
    Porua: I would like to recommend another Thomas Hardy novel, Far from the Madding Crowd. When I first read The Return of the Native it kind of surprised me to see how very similar it is to Far from the Madding Crowd. They are very similar in their story lines, characterization and narrative style.… (more)

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» See also 274 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
For Christmas, I ordered an mp3 player (Library of Classics) that was pre-loaded with 100 works of classic literature in an audio format. Each work is in the public domain and is read by amateurs, so the quality of the presentation is hit or miss.

The Return of the Native is a novel written by Thomas Hardy that has as its locale 19th century rural England. The story line of the novel revolves around the romantic attachments of several inhabitants of Egdon Heath, essentially a love pentagon (as opposed to the classic love triangle). There is Diggory Venn, the reddelman, who loves Thomasin. Wildeve, who marries Thomasin, but loves Eustacia, who marries Clym Yeobright, Thomasin’s cousin. You get the picture.

The story is a little slow to get started, as Hardy never uses a dozen words when a hundred can be strung together. His prose is overly descriptive and verbose. Finally, we are introduced to all of the major characters and a period of enjoyment commences as the makings of a fine tale emerge. Alas, the story grinds to a halt as long periods of inaction and repetitious behavior develop. I’m sure the style is not unusual for the period, though I’ve read a lot of Dickens and found his writing to be far livelier.

In listening to the audiobook, I would have sworn that the book had to contain 800 pages, but the Amazon profile reports only half that. Perhaps it only seemed like 800 pages, given the long periods of sleep inducing inaction and florid prose. In any event, it was not terrible, just not exactly to my liking. ( )
  santhony | Jul 15, 2015 |
This novel haunts me with its characters and settings. Excellent in every way. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
This was my second book by Hardy. Like the first one I read, this is a book about moral dilemmas & the power of misperceptions. Eustacia & Thomasin are tragic heroines who suffer the consequences of rumor & reputation is small town 1800's England. Clym, the one is is the returning native of the title, is a man who fortune treated well in the beginning, but struck down at the end. Wildeve is the romantic hero who is the cause of much of the 2 ladies' problems....

It's sad most of the way, with a few clever places throughout, like Eustacia's attempt at disguising herself as a man in the mummer's play so that she could meet Clym to begin with. That evening's work she didn't quite think all the way through, & finds herself in a rather touchy situation :)

All in all, I was ok with how the book ended, although the afterword gives us an idea of how the original ending went vice the one that the book gives.... ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
Two words: Alan Rickman.

Okay, well the book deserves more than two words, and about Mr. Rickman I could go on and on. This is a heartbreaking story of love and betrayal, and of scheming and misunderstanding set on the wildly bleak and beautiful Egdon Heath. The story opens with Thomasin Yeobright being returned home in disgrace in reddleman Diggory Venn's van, her anticipated marriage to inn-owner Damon Wildeve not taking place due to an error in the marriage license. In the aftermath of the non-wedding, Wildeve receives a bonfire signal from former lover Eustacia Vye, and the two resume their flirtation. Wildeve is ready to return to Eustacia, Eustacia considers, and Thomasin and her aunt attempt to save Thomasin's honor by proceeding with the wedding to Wildeve. Into this climate returns Thomasin's cousin Clym, the handsome, educated pride of the village, home from Paris. The idea of Clym captivates Eustacia, who is miserable on the heath and dreams of a grand life in Paris. Thus a web is woven, with strands connecting Clym, Eustacia, Thomasin, and Wildeve, with Clym's mother Mrs. Yeobright and reddleman Diggory Venn (long in love with Thomasin) worrying on the periphery.

Mr. Hardy writes well-developed characters, the most interesting and complex of which is Eustacia. With Eustacia, as with the timeless heath, marked by the ancient Celts, Mr. Hardy brings to life the uneasy blend of Christian and Pagan. "Eustacia Vye was the raw material of a divinity. On Olympus she would have done well with a little preparation. She had the passions and instincts which make a model goddess, that is, those which make not quite a model woman." A beautiful outsider disinclined to interact with any neighbors, she is admired by some and suspected by others to be a witch. She can be maddeningly selfish, fiendishly scheming, and utterly tragic.

As for Mr. Rickman... I could hardly attend to the story for pretty much the entire first disc, I was so giddy about his narration! But as with the best narrators, Mr. Rickman gradually disappeared and the story came to full, glorious, tragic life. This was one of the best audiobook experiences ever -- right up there with Jeremy Irons narrating [Brideshead Revisited]. What a shame that Mr. Rickman never narrated another book, for this one was amazing.
1 vote AMQS | Mar 22, 2014 |
It took 25 plus years, but after being totally put of Hardy at school, I finally tried again. And it was nothing like as bad as I thought it was going to be. This is the story of two couples who have married and both, for various reasons, are unsuited. The characters are supported by a mass of well drawn characters, pone of which is the landscape itself. The whole of the first chapter is devoted to describing Egdon Heath and it takes on a presence that is more than mere backdrop. There are contrasting opinions on it as well, with Eustacia wanting to get away and Clem feeling he has returned home.
It certainly isn't a feel good book, it has an air of melancholy about it, there's a lot of repenting at leisure and the whole tone is nostalgic for a time and tradition that probably never existed. Even the ending seems not to focus on the hope of a marriage (this one seems much more sound) but on the disappointment and lack of emotion of Clem.
It was certainly a lot better than my last experience with him, but he's not exactly a cheery bunny. His landscape is excellent, I'm just not sure I bought into his characters entirely, the marriages struck me as a little too far fetched. It may well be less than 25 years before I pick up another. ( )
  Helenliz | Mar 7, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Hardyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lynd, SylviaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, WarnerIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Theroux, AlexanderIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterich, John T.Prefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodcock, GeorgeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"To sorrow
I bade good morrow,
And thought to leave her far away behind;
But cheerly, cheerly,
She loves me dearly;
She is so constant to me, and so kind.
I would deceive her,
And so leave her,
But ah! she is so constant and so kind."
First words
A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching the time of twilight, and the vast tract of unenclosed wild known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment.
Human beings, in their generous endeavour to construct a hypothesis that shall not degrade a First Cause, have always hesitated to conceive a dominant power of lower moral quality than their own; and, even while they sit down and weep by the waters of Babylon, invent excuses for the oppression which prompts their tears.
As for Thomasin, I never expected much from her; and she has not disappointed me.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Return of the Native was first published in Belgravia magazine in 12 parts in 1878 and revised by Hardy in 1895 and 1912, when he produced a definitive Wessex Edition of all of his novels.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037575718X, Paperback)

One of Thomas Hardy's most powerful works, The Return of the Native centers famously on Egdon Heath, the wild, haunted Wessex moor that D. H. Lawrence called "the real stuff of tragedy." The heath's changing face mirrors the fortunes of the farmers, inn-keepers, sons, mothers, and lovers who populate the novel. The "native" is Clym Yeobright, who comes home from a cosmopolitan life in Paris. He; his cousin Thomasin; her fiancé, Damon Wildeve; and the willful Eustacia Vye are the protagonists in a tale of doomed love, passion, alienation, and melancholy as Hardy brilliantly explores that theme so familiar throughout his fiction: the diabolical role of chance in determining the course of a life.

As Alexander Theroux asserts in his Introduction, Hardy was "committed to the deep expression of [nature's] ironic chaos and strange apathy, even hostility, toward man."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

An enduring tale of love, desire, and the universal longing both to leave one's home and to return to it, this novel is one of Hardy's greatest and most affecting works. Hardy's passionately drawn characters and his vivid rendering of their valiant but ultimately ineffective struggle in destiny's web result in a masterpiece of melancholy brilliance.… (more)

» see all 20 descriptions

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Average: (3.94)
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13 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140435182, 0141199741

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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