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The Return of the Native: Illustrated Platinum Edition (Free Audiobook Included)

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How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the magazine Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878. Because of the novel's controversial themes, Hardy had some difficulty finding a publisher; reviews, however, though somewhat mixed, were generally positive. In the twentieth century, The Return of the Native became one of Hardy's most popular novels.


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How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the magazine Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878. Because of the novel's controversial themes, Hardy had some difficulty finding a publisher; reviews, however, though somewhat mixed, were generally positive. In the twentieth century, The Return of the Native became one of Hardy's most popular novels.

30 review for The Return of the Native: Illustrated Platinum Edition (Free Audiobook Included)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”I read a lot of classical books like The Return of the Native and all, and I like them,” says Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. “I like that Eustacia Vye.” Catherine Zeta Jones as Eustacia Vye Eustacia Vye is a young maid filled with longing for the city of Paris, for new experiences,fresh sights, sounds that have never rang her ears before, and a lover to fill her heart with dewy-eyed passion. She lives on the moors of Wessex in the midst of a small collection of dwellings called E ”I read a lot of classical books like The Return of the Native and all, and I like them,” says Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. “I like that Eustacia Vye.” Catherine Zeta Jones as Eustacia Vye Eustacia Vye is a young maid filled with longing for the city of Paris, for new experiences,fresh sights, sounds that have never rang her ears before, and a lover to fill her heart with dewy-eyed passion. She lives on the moors of Wessex in the midst of a small collection of dwellings called Egdon Heath. For some, the moors are mystical and strangely beautiful filled with wildlife and wonder, but for Miss Vye the countryside provokes melancholy and despair. She is a beautiful lass, so beautiful that men are struck mute in her presence and left trembling in her wake. ”Her presence brought memories of such things as Bourbon roses, rubies, and tropical midnights; her moods recalled lotus-eaters and the march in ‘Athalie’; her motions, the ebb and flow of the sea; her voice, the viola. In a dim light, and with a slight rearrangement of her hair, her general figure might have stood for that of either of the higher female deities. The new moon behind her head, an old helmet upon it, a diadem of accidental dewdrops round her brow, would have been adjuncts sufficient to strike the note of Artemis, Athena, or Hear respectively, with as close an approximation to the antique as that which passes muster on many respected canvases.” There is a sweet scene when a young lad named Charley strikes a deal with her to allow her to get her way. She offers him money. He shook his head. ‘Money won’t do it.’ ‘What will, then, Charley?’ said Eustacia in a disappointed tone. ‘You know what you forbad me at the maypoling, miss,’ murmured the lad, without looking at her. ‘Yes,’ said Eustacia, with a little more hauteur, ‘You wanted to join hands with me in the ring, if I recollect?’ ‘Half an hour of that, and I’ll agree, miss.’ Eustacia regarded the youth steadfastly. He was three years younger than herself, but apparently not backward for his age. ‘Half an hour of what?’ she said, though she guessed what. ‘Holding your hand in mine.’ She was silent. ‘Make it a quarter of an hour,’ she said. ‘Yes Miss Eustacia--I will, if I may kiss it too. That scene made me nostalgic for a time when holding a girl’s hand was the penultimate moment of an evening. I’m not going to discuss plot, but to give you some idea of the complexity of passions cavorting on the moors I will outline the problems that lead to a host of heavy sighs, wildly beating hearts, and hands thrown over foreheads in exasperation. (Me included.) Clym Yeobright, the returning native that inspires the title of this novel is in love with Eustacia Vye. Eustacia Vye is in love with Clym, but also burns a candle or in this case a pile of furze for Damon Wildeve. Damon Wildeve falls in love with Eustacia Vye, but throws her over for Thomasin Yeobright; and yet, continues to look longingly at Eustacia Vye. The man just can’t make up his mind. Diggory Venn the red faced reddleman is head over heels in love with Thomasin Yeobright. The writers for The Bold and the Beautiful have nothing on Hardy. Map of the fictional Egdon Heath Clym’s mother is incensed that he would give up his wonderful job in Paris to move back to Egdon Heath and then to add insult to injury that he would pick up with that Vye girl.”You are blinded Clym,” she said warmly. “It was a bad day for you when you first set eyes on her. And your scheme is merely a castle in the air built on purpose to justify this folly which has seized you, and to salve your conscience on the irrational situation you are in.” As I was reading this I kept thinking to myself Clym, my word, tell your mother to open up her eyes and see that Eustacia is a Bourbon rose and what is a red blooded English male supposed to do when faced with a Catherine Zeta Jones beauty? He marries her by god. Clym has returned with the idea that he will open a school and teach the poor children of the district. He studies morning, noon, and night cramming all the knowledge he can into his noggin from the books he can find. His mother may have cursed him when she accused him of being blind because the result of that regimented schedule is that he becomes sick and loses his eyesight. As his eyesight gradually comes back he is eventually able to see well enough to cut furze or gorse to keep a bit of money coming in while waiting for his eyesight to recover. Gorse is a plant that grows on the heath that is edible for livestock to eat or could be used as kindling for fires. This is not the job that Eustacia expects her educated husband to be seen doing. She is embarrassed and lets him know. Furze Cutter Yeobright placed his hand on her arm. ‘Now, don’t you suppose, my inexperienced girl, that I cannot rebel, in high Promethean fashion, against the gods and fate as well as you. I have felt more steam and smoke of that sort than you have ever heard of. But the more I see of life the more do I perceive that there is nothing particularly great in its greatest walks, and therefore nothing particularly small in mine of furze-cutting. If I feel that the greatest blessings vouchsafed to us are not very valuable, how can I feel it to be any great hardship when they are taken away?’ I really liked Yeobright. He is a man out of place where he was born; and yet, even though he was successful in the city competing against the best and brightest he has a vision to return to where he was born and give back to his community. I love those stories today about those people who are smart enough and brave enough to rise above the slums they are raised in. They escape to trail blaze a pathway to success for others and return to the slums to raise up those less fortunate. They provide a role model for kids with parents who have long given up on improving their place on the cosmic scale. Unfortunately Yeobright is a man ahead of his time. In consequence of this relatively advanced position, Yeobright might have been called unfortunate. The rural world was not ripe for him. A man should be only partially before his time: to be completely to the vanward in aspirations is fatal to fame. Had Philip’s warlike son been intellectually so far ahead as to have attempted civilization without bloodshed, he would have been twice the godlike hero that he seemed, but nobody would have heard of an Alexander. This book is considered one of Thomas Hardy’s masterpieces. The range of emotion expressed during the youthful exuberance of unmitigated passionate young love definitely drew me out of my comfort zone. The writing is superb even though the prose at times turns a darkening shade of purple. There is so much more to this book than what I have discussed today. These are mere samplings of the highlights this book has to offer. I stumbled through the first hundred pages, but then I started clicking with Hardy’s writing. I am so glad I hung in there to put a check mark by another must read classic. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at: https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Can you go home again? Thomas Hardy asks that simple question in his magnificent novel, The Return of the Native...written in 1878...set in a vast sparsely populated land in rural England called Edgon Heath. Rolling hills, the quiet grasslands and small but valuable shrubs, the furze bush .. empty except for isolated cottages, little hamlets and people struggling to survive the harsh conditions in the valley's meager farms and their loneliness. The native coming back is Mr.Clement (Clym) Yeobrig Can you go home again? Thomas Hardy asks that simple question in his magnificent novel, The Return of the Native...written in 1878...set in a vast sparsely populated land in rural England called Edgon Heath. Rolling hills, the quiet grasslands and small but valuable shrubs, the furze bush .. empty except for isolated cottages, little hamlets and people struggling to survive the harsh conditions in the valley's meager farms and their loneliness. The native coming back is Mr.Clement (Clym) Yeobright, a local legend...a strange move leaving glamorous Paris, involved in the lucrative diamond business there to return home, a few more years and he would become rich. His mother is puzzled , why ? He slowly reveals a dream ...become a teacher...educate the ignorant superstitious poor inhabitants. ..give them a brighter future. Nevertheless reality sets in quickly, his pretty cousin Thomasin had married a man, Damon Wildeve in love with another. Eustacia Vye, a beautiful woman who roams the hills in the dark of night, a ghostly mirage...some say she's a witch others don't care but are fascinated by the free spirit. Her grandfather gives the young girl the freedom...like a wild animal she floats and appears and vanishes never letting anyone get close but Mr. Wildeve...this is the problem. Eustacia is all alone, only the old grandfather sees her, she prefers that, not comfortable in the country, a city girl ...but yearning to visit the outside...the exciting world, Clym marries the ambitious lady... (his mother objected, as she did her niece) the goal, enchanting Paris, ( she Miss Vye will be disappointed) the town that the husband despises, he wants needs, the calm and the peace. Still in the beginning nobody doubts the two's great feelings for each other... the dazzlingly flame burns high...but the inevitable decline occurs..Another man a former unsuccessful suitor of Thomasin , Diggory Venn, a traveling salesman, with an unique color, still has the passion, yet helps her marry a rival...he longs to make her happy to the obviously unsuitable man, Damon, not interested in his new wife, but desiring to make his love jealous. Five persons...two unhappy marriages the math will not add up..yet the story goes on... many complications arrive. Tragedy and misunderstanding permeates the narrative, feelings change and change again, the atmosphere is full of foreboding. ..the crisis cannot be far away...Hardy gives a demonstration of his power to tear open and reveal the mystery of the human condition , their enormous weaknesses...show them in a quite unflattering light..but also the goodness too. One of the writer's best...a classic.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    From one of Monty Python's albums: Commentator: Hello, and welcome to Dorchester, where a very good crowd has turned out to watch local boy Thomas Hardy write his new novel "The Return Of The Native", on this very pleasant July morning. This will be his eleventh novel and the fifth of the very popular Wessex novels, and here he comes! Here comes Hardy, walking out towards his desk. He looks confident, he looks relaxed, very much the man in form, as he acknowledges this very good natured bank holi From one of Monty Python's albums: Commentator: Hello, and welcome to Dorchester, where a very good crowd has turned out to watch local boy Thomas Hardy write his new novel "The Return Of The Native", on this very pleasant July morning. This will be his eleventh novel and the fifth of the very popular Wessex novels, and here he comes! Here comes Hardy, walking out towards his desk. He looks confident, he looks relaxed, very much the man in form, as he acknowledges this very good natured bank holiday crowd. And the crowd goes quiet now, as Hardy settles himself down at the desk, body straight, shoulders relaxed, pen held lightly but firmly in the right hand. He dips the pen...in the ink, and he's off! It's the first word, but it's not a word - oh, no! - it's a doodle. Way up on the top of the lefthand margin is a piece of meaningless scribble - and he's signed his name underneath it! Oh dear, what a disappointing start. But he's off again - and here he goes - the first word of Thomas Hardy's new novel, at ten thirtyfive on this very lovely morning, it's three letters, it's the definite article, and it's "The". Dennis? Dennis: Well, this is true to form, no surprises there. He started five of his eleven novels to date with the definite article. We had two of them with "It", there's been one "But", two "At"s, one "On" and a "Dolores", but that of course was never published. Commentator: I'm sorry to interrupt you there, Dennis, but he's crossed it out. Thomas Hardy, here on the first day of his new novel, has crossed out the only word he has written so far, and he's gazing off into space. Oh, ohh, there he signed his name again. Dennis: It looks like "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" all over again. Commentator: But he's...no, he's down again and writing, Dennis, he's written "B" again, he's crossed it out again, and he has written "A" - and there is a second word coming up straight away, and it's "Sat" - "A Sat" - doesn't make sense - "A Satur" - "A Saturday" - it's "A Saturday", and the crowd are loving it, they are really enjoying this novel. And it's "afternoon", it's "Saturday afternoon", a comfortable beginning, and he's straight on to the next word - it's "in" - "A Saturday afternoon in" - "in" - "in" "in Nov" - "November" - November is spelled wrong, he's left out the second "E", but he's not going back, it looks like he's going for the sentence, and it's the first verb coming up - it's the first verb of the novel, and it's "was", and the crowd are going wild! "A Saturday afternoon in November was", and a long word here - "appro" - "appro" - is it a "approving"? - no, it's "approaching" - "approaching" - "A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching" - and he's done the definite article "but" again. And he's writing fluently, easily with flowing strokes of the pen, as he comes up to the middle of this first sentence. And with this eleventh novel well underway, and the prospects of a good days writing ahead, back to the studio.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    To understand how radical Thomas Hardy is, we could start with how radical the rest of his century wasn't. For most of the 1800s, novels were basically maiden aunts yelling at you about your skirt length. They had a job: they were to demonstrate proper behavior. Their good characters were rewarded; their bad characters were punished. Even the best of them - Austen and Dickens - encouraged conformity. They're coercive. This is lame, obviously, and some authors were like "That's not how shit is at To understand how radical Thomas Hardy is, we could start with how radical the rest of his century wasn't. For most of the 1800s, novels were basically maiden aunts yelling at you about your skirt length. They had a job: they were to demonstrate proper behavior. Their good characters were rewarded; their bad characters were punished. Even the best of them - Austen and Dickens - encouraged conformity. They're coercive. This is lame, obviously, and some authors were like "That's not how shit is at all! Good behavior is like never rewarded irl!" They set out to write about the real world. Over in France, this is part of what Flaubert was up to with his landmark realist novel Madame Bovary. And in English, the greatest of these radicals were George Eliot and Thomas Hardy. So the radical part is, their books have these messy outcomes, they're about universes in which there's no particular order or sense of justice. Eliot and Hardy were similar enough to be mistaken for each other: when Hardy serialized Far From the Madding Crowd anonymously, some critics guessed it was Eliot. But there are differences. Eliot is longer, slower, deeper, and she's more character-driven. Hardy is tremendously melodramatic, and he's more concerned with the outside force of fate. Eliot is internal; Hardy is external. Vicissitudes crush his characters. My favorite example comes at the beginning of Far From the Madding Crowd: Gabriel Oak, a noble farmer, wakes to a strange bleating. He follows it to a twitching white and red heap at the base of a cliff. It's his entire flock of sheep, his whole earthly fortune; they've all run off the cliff in the night. Why? No reason. Sheep are dumb. Life is unfair. It's this unfairness that characterizes Hardy the most, for me. If there's one thing you can be sure of when you enter Hardy's world of Wessex, it's that it won't be fair. Pessimism is the other word you hear a lot. He's a bummer. In Return of the Native, fate is more subtle and twisted than Gabriel Oak's cliff. Picture it like a Jenga tower: Hardy removes this tile, then that one; no one tile is that big a deal, but eventually the whole thing topples. Eustacia Vye isn't an awesome person, but Hardy takes pains to point out that she isn't that bad, either. She isn't actually having an affair with shitty old Wildeve, who isn't that bad himself. These are people on the normal people scale. They're lower on it than you are, you're great, but they're not monsters. They're smaller versions of the Mayor of Casterbridge: not so much villains as helpless assholes. When the drama arrives late in the book, there's been no dastardly crime. (view spoiler)[Wildeve is at Eustacia's house while her husband Clym is asleep; they're not boning, but they're flirting. Eustacia doesn't answer the door for Clym's aging mom; she's careless and a dick but she really does think Clym's getting up to do it. She sneaks Wildeve out the back door not exactly because they have so much to hide, just because she knows the optics on his visit are bad. All these little things pile up, until suddenly Clym's mother is dead. (hide spoiler)] It's a series of small crimes until everyone's worlds topple over. There is plenty of drama, though; this is Hardy, one of the most gloriously over-the-top writers ever. All of his books have at least a couple of huge, melodramatic set pieces. The climax of Tess of the D'Urbervilles is set at Stonehenge. Hardy goes big. Hardy gives no fucks. Hardy's storms are stormier than anybody else's storms, unless maybe King Lear. Things Hardy Cribbed From Shakespeare - Hyperbolic storms - Girls who dress like boys and only one person can tell - Comedic scenes with peasants who talk funny - Words you don't know Words Hardy Knows But You Don't - Perfervid (intense) - Ephemeron (a bug that only lives for one day) - Carking (worrisome) He has this flair for visuals, for cinematic scenes. My favorite one in Native is Diggory Venn's all-night gambling session with Wildeve for two families' fortunes, surrounded by the pallid green light of glowworms. Diggory is the first person you focus on, and he's vivid himself: he's completely red from head to toe. He's a dye salesman, and he's a creature of Hardy's beloved heath (that's just a scrubby prairie, and it's also where Lear is set); he comes off almost like some kind of sprite or elf. He literally buries himself in the heath at one point, so he can skulk around eavesdropping better. Hardy's about something, here: he's not a big fan of civilization. Venn represents a primordial person, Adam, in touch with the land. Eustacia and Wildeve want to go to Paris, which represents...everything bad, what is your problem with Paris, Hardy? Clym - the native himself - returns from Paris back to the heath, because he's a good guy. The major theme of Return of the Native is the advantage of simple, rustic life. Things Hardy Enjoys Describing - Heaths - Big-ass ferns - Hyperbolic storms Real life furze cutters on the heath There's an actual witch on this heath, so that's...weird. You're like, I thought you said this guy was a realist. It's a metaphor or something? She represents that old, pagan, natural world. And is she even a real witch? She gets another terrific scene - (view spoiler)[the slow creation and torture of a voodoo doll, intended to murder Eustacia Vye. But we don't get to see Eustacia's last moments, so we'll never know whether she fell in that pond on purpose or not. (hide spoiler)] Hardy leaves it ambiguous. And anyway, it's not that kind of realism. Hardy said, "Art is a disproportioning...of realities, to show more clearly the features that matter in those realities, which if merely copied or reported inventorially, might possibly be observed, but would more probably be overlooked." He's using melodrama - "disproportion" - to throw reality into sharper relief. He wants to jar us into thinking about where we are in the world. Is it Paris? Fuck Paris. But I love Paris, you cry! No fair! Yeah, well. Even with the witch, Native comes off as one of Hardy's least bleak books. (You might want to stop here if you haven't read this yet.) I mean - pound for pound it turns out it's actually pretty average, as this helpful infographic from The Guardian makes clear: Click for a larger version with even more stuff So why doesn't it feel that way? Well - allow me to suggest that it's because you've pigeonholed his characters as though they were in those earlier, more moralistic novels. (view spoiler)[Eustacia is a jerk and she dies; Thomasin is not and she gets to marry weird-ass Diggory. (hide spoiler)] You've been trained on who to root for; the ending validates you. But the witch is mistaken; when she drives pins into a wax model of Eustacia, that's punishment for a crime she actually didn't commit. And what's she really done to anyone? Small crimes; everyday crimes. This is the most subtle book I've read by Hardy - not that that's saying much, but still. He's shown us before how good people can be destroyed; here he's reminding us that life is unfair to shitty people, too. Eustacia did her best; it wasn't enough. And here you thought it was a happy ending. Who's unfair now?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    839. Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the magazine Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878. The novel takes place entirely in the environs of Egdon Heath, and, with the exception of the epilogue, Aftercourses, covers exactly a year and a day. The narrative begins on the evening of Guy Fawkes Night as Diggory Venn is 839. Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the magazine Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878. The novel takes place entirely in the environs of Egdon Heath, and, with the exception of the epilogue, Aftercourses, covers exactly a year and a day. The narrative begins on the evening of Guy Fawkes Night as Diggory Venn is slowly crossing the heath with his van, which is being drawn by ponies. In his van is a passenger. When darkness falls, the country folk light bonfires on the surrounding hills, emphasising—not for the last time—the pagan spirit of the heath and its denizens. Venn is a reddleman; he travels the country supplying farmers with a red mineral called reddle (dialect term for red ochre) that farmers use to mark their sheep. Although his trade has stained him red from head to foot, underneath his devilish colouring he is a handsome, shrewd, well-meaning young man. His passenger is a young woman named Thomasin Yeobright, whom Venn is taking home. Earlier that day, Thomasin had planned to marry Damon Wildeve, a local innkeeper known for his fickleness; however, an inconsistency in the marriage licence delayed the marriage. Thomasin, in distress, ran after the reddleman's van and asked him to take her home. Venn himself is in love with Thomasin, and unsuccessfully wooed her two years before. Now, although he believes Wildeve is unworthy of her love, he is so devoted to her that he is willing to help her secure the man of her choice. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دهم ماه مارس سال 2004 میلادی بازگشت بومی - تامس هاردی (نشر نو)ادبیات عنوان: بازگشت بومی؛ نویسنده: تامس هاردی؛ مترجم ابراهیم یونسی (سیروان آزاد)؛ تهران، نشر نو، 1369؛ در 459ص؛ چاپ دیگر چهار و 508ص؛ شابک ایکس - 964744317؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 19م یوستاشیا شخصیت اصلی رمان، زنی که در آرزوی عشقی پر شروشور روزگار می‌گذراند، او باور دارد که رهایی‌ اش از سرزمین افسرده سیمای «اگدن هیث»، تنها و تنها در گرو ازدواج با «کلایم یوبرایت» است، که از سوی دیگر «کلایم» به علت ناخرسندی از کارش در پاریس، به خانه و کاشانه‌ اش در «اگدن هیث» باز آمده است.؛ همین خواهش «یوستاشیا» ست، که وی را با همسرش به مخالفت برمی‌انگیزد.؛ «بازگشت بومی» نمونه ی کلاسیک یک تراژدی تمام عیار است که زندگی و عشق نافرجام «کلایم یوبرایت» و «یوستاشیا» را پیش چشم خوانشگر می‌نهد تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 18/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  6. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 5 out of 5 stars to The Return of the Native, a novel written by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1878 and subsequently re-issued a few times with additional revisions. It's rare for me to give out a full 5 stars, but this book will always hold an extreme and special place in my heart. It was the start of my adoration of the English countryside. It was a true story of love, life and reality. Watching the drama unfold over the years, chapter by chapter, was phenomenal. I wa Book Review 5 out of 5 stars to The Return of the Native, a novel written by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1878 and subsequently re-issued a few times with additional revisions. It's rare for me to give out a full 5 stars, but this book will always hold an extreme and special place in my heart. It was the start of my adoration of the English countryside. It was a true story of love, life and reality. Watching the drama unfold over the years, chapter by chapter, was phenomenal. I was there while it happened, at least it felt so to me. Hardy had a unique ability to transport me to his vision. I felt connected to him as a writer and a storyteller. I loved every character. I couldn't decide who should end up with whom. It's that good... you see all sides. You want everything. But sadly, you cannot have it. The fighting felt true to form. The depression made me melancholic. I fell in love with the main characters and would have done anything to see them happy when I first read it. I've read it three times, roughly every ten years. I'm due again in the very near future. Perhaps we should buddy read it! About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    4.5 stars This is a story about misunderstanding, not getting the facts straight and the dangers of presumptuousness. Here romance rings hollow and family is a source of strife rather than security. Although the plot borders on Lifetime channel fare and the dialogue can sometimes be overwrought, it’s Hardy’s descriptive powers that also make this a great read. He describes the heath, the wind, fire light dancing on people’s faces, a storm, an eclipse, all revealing the power and beauty of the Engl 4.5 stars This is a story about misunderstanding, not getting the facts straight and the dangers of presumptuousness. Here romance rings hollow and family is a source of strife rather than security. Although the plot borders on Lifetime channel fare and the dialogue can sometimes be overwrought, it’s Hardy’s descriptive powers that also make this a great read. He describes the heath, the wind, fire light dancing on people’s faces, a storm, an eclipse, all revealing the power and beauty of the English language. Not a page goes by where you aren’t awe inspired by Hardy’s command of the written word. I found myself frequently lingering on a page and rereading passages. I no longer highlight, but if I did this book would be easily filled with yellow. I can’t remember a book (maybe The Terror) where the physical environment plays such an active role in the course of events. The heath is a character in and of itself. It looms large in the way the characters live their lives. It provides comfort, motivation, and a metaphor for the spirit (or lack thereof) of the heath dwellers. Hardy isn’t known for his humor, but there were rare glimpses of wit, gratefully breaking up the heavy drama.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I have spent the last thirty five years convinced that I do not like Thomas Hardy. I know how it happened. Reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles when I was in high school and again at university made a lasting - and a negative - impression on me. Admittedly, I went on to read Jude the Obscure and Far from the Madding Crowd, also while I was at university, and quite liked both novels. Notwithstanding this, my dislike of Tess overshadowed whatever appreciation for Hardy's work I might otherwise have d I have spent the last thirty five years convinced that I do not like Thomas Hardy. I know how it happened. Reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles when I was in high school and again at university made a lasting - and a negative - impression on me. Admittedly, I went on to read Jude the Obscure and Far from the Madding Crowd, also while I was at university, and quite liked both novels. Notwithstanding this, my dislike of Tess overshadowed whatever appreciation for Hardy's work I might otherwise have developed. The result is that I have not read another of Hardy's novels since leaving university. Until now. Through one of my Goodreads friends (Thanks Robin!) I discovered that Alan Rickman had narrated The Return of the Native and I decided that if listening to an audiobook narrated by Rickman could not make me like Hardy, then nothing could. After all, I would pay good money to hear Alan Rickman read the telephone directory or the bus timetable, so why not listen to him read Hardy? What an excellent decision that was, for this was a sublime experience. First, there's the novel itself. This is Greek or Shakespearean tragedy in the form of a novel. The setting, Egdon Heath, is a character in itself, brought alive by its flora, its fauna, the time of day, the season, the weather conditions and - most of all - those who live there. Then there are the main characters whose lives and dramas are played out on and around the heath: all of them amazingly alive with their passions and their flaws. And there are the secondary characters: those who live in the cottages on the heath who act as both comic relief and Greek chorus. There's the tragedy itself, which is brought about not by evil, but - as tragedy so often is - by misunderstandings and bad timing. The tragedy is lightened somewhat by the conclusion of the novel, which is a happy ending for at least some of the characters. This was not the ending that Hardy initially intended and was apparently a result of the demands of serial publication and the expectations of readers. I think the novel suffers somewhat as a result, but only a little. Secondly, there's the language of the novel. Hardy eventually gave up writing novels to write poetry and it's clear that the poet was always there in the novelist. The language is rich, complex, with breathtakingly beautiful imagery. Many scenes are so vividly described that I could see them as oil paintings, knowing exactly how the light and shadow would fall on them. Thirdly, there's Alan Rickman's narration. It is, quite simply, a joy to listen to. Rickman narrates; he does not deliver a bravura acting performance, so his reading is restrained. However, he nevertheless creates distinctive and appropriate voices for the characters, including wonderful West Country accents for the supporting characters. His voice is mesmerising: low, rich and warm. I could listen to it forever. All in all, as an experiment to see if I could really enjoy a novel by Thomas Hardy, listening to this audiobook has been spectacularly successful. If I had read a text version, I probably would have given it a four star rating, maybe even 3 1/2 stars because of the less than totally satisfactory ending. Listening to Alan Rickman read the book to me has elevated the experience from great to amazing. My only problem is that I may have difficulty finding another audiobook that I will enjoy as much.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    “Hurt so good Come on baby, make it hurt so good” - John Mellencamp WUT? Well, reading Thomas Hardy novels always poses this kind of challenge. They hurt, and yet I keep coming back to him because they are indeed good and this kind of hurt is like a good exercise for your EQ. In term of language, I don’t think Hardy’s writing is particularly difficult to access. The more challenging aspects of his books are the initial meticulous scene setting and characters introduction chapters and, of course, t “Hurt so good Come on baby, make it hurt so good” - John Mellencamp WUT? Well, reading Thomas Hardy novels always poses this kind of challenge. They hurt, and yet I keep coming back to him because they are indeed good and this kind of hurt is like a good exercise for your EQ. In term of language, I don’t think Hardy’s writing is particularly difficult to access. The more challenging aspects of his books are the initial meticulous scene setting and characters introduction chapters and, of course, the miserable situations that his characters get into. “Tragedy When the feeling's gone and you can't go on It's tragedy” Sorry, I just had a sudden attack of Beegeesitis. Anyway, I am always glad(ish) to be back in Hardyverse, better known as Wessex, a fictional region somewhere in the south of England. A lot of pastoral mayhem seems to take place here so it is probably not an ideal vacation destination (non-existence notwithstanding). In The Return of the Native Hardy again depicts what bad marriages can do. Clym Yeobright, the returning native of the novel’s title, marries the almost preternaturally beautiful Eustacia Vye who is very discontent with her rural surroundings. She yearns for the bright lights, big cities, iStores etc., preferably in Paris. However, she is not a femme fatale, she does her best to be a good, loving wife. Unfortunately her best is of a disastrously low standard and tragedy ensues. Much of the tragedy stems from people being unable to speak their minds, to be honest, sincere and – most of all – forgiving. Where this novel really resonates with me is the relationship between Clym and his mother. They have a very close, loving relationship until Eustacia (inadvertently) comes between them. The mother, Mrs. Yeobright, has some very strong prejudices about people of ill repute and is very quick to pass judgment on them, her unyielding mentality eventually leads to her downfall. Eustacia’s inability to settle down, to compromise with her circumstances also leads to a lot of grief and much gnashing of teeth. As usual Hardy’s characters are very believable and vivid, and it is interesting that there is no actual villain in this book. Some characters become antagonists of sort merely through very unwise decision making and impropriety. The hero of the book is also not Clym the protagonist, but a sincere, helpful and humble man called Diggory Venn who is a “reddleman” by profession. Basically, he goes around marking flocks of sheep with a red colour (a mineral called "reddle"). Not much call for such services these days I imagine, but it makes him a fair amount of money and also causes his entire body to be red coloured. It plays hell with his attempts at courting a certain young lady, but he eventually finds a way. According to Wikipedia Hardy had a tack on a happy ending for commercial purposes so not all the characters are down in the dumps by the end of the book. Left to his own devices he would rather depress the hell out of his readers. Over all this is a typically depressing book by Thomas Hardy. Yet I really like it and recommend it for people who are not overly sensitive or those who are too insensitive and need to emote a little. “Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true You'll see its all a show, keep 'em laughin as you go Just remember that the last laugh is on you” - Monty Python Well, after all that I don’t have any room left to quote an eloquent passage from this book. There are always plenty of those in a Hardy novel (so that’s hardly novel!).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    "Harsh Heath" Hardy -- Best in Nature as Supporting Character In this 1878 novel, Hardy heaves readers right into the gloomy Egdon Heath, in southern England, to witness the inception of coming tragedies involving the heath's inhabitants. Hardy did not draw his Egdon Heath as darkly as the Bronte sisters portrayed their Cimmerian heaths in the classic novels, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Hardy was more masterful and subtle in this novel. His exquisite approach to creating this authentic and an "Harsh Heath" Hardy -- Best in Nature as Supporting Character In this 1878 novel, Hardy heaves readers right into the gloomy Egdon Heath, in southern England, to witness the inception of coming tragedies involving the heath's inhabitants. Hardy did not draw his Egdon Heath as darkly as the Bronte sisters portrayed their Cimmerian heaths in the classic novels, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Hardy was more masterful and subtle in this novel. His exquisite approach to creating this authentic and animastic heath involved his especially discerning eye for detail and nuance and his subtlety borne of sagacity. If you are not paying close attention, which I wasn't when I first began reading this novel, you will not realize how he fixes a domineering mood in his settings; yet, you will sense a paramount hopelessness, an aura of doom that you cannot seem to put your finger on. When looking back, you will observe how he infused the story with descriptors, subtext and pacing, to create a countryside that plays a significant role as a character unto itself and to establish and reinforce tensions and conflicts throughout his trademark in tragedy. Clym Yeobright is the titular "native" returning to the heath, after leaving a lucrative position in the Parisian diamond trade business. He plans to start up a school in the heath for the poor children in a largely uneducated part of the country. Eustacia Vye is, I guess, technically the heroine. [An example of when I wish I had an education in literature or literary theory]. Ms. Vye seemed to me almost an anti-heroine. Certainly, she's the least sympathetic protagonist in any of the four Hardy novels I've read, all within the past year. Ms. Vye is a fiery, semi-educated young woman who has long wished to escape the heath. She hopes that Clym will change his mind about opening a school after they marry and instead take her to Paris to live. Clym develops an eye problem which ruins his school plans, and he ends up taking a job as a furze-cutter (hedge-cutter?), but refuses to go back to Paris. Thus, struggles develop and catastrophes ensue from Eustacia's unrealized passion to flee Egdon Heath and her caged feeling, especially after her husband has accepted a "lower" life as a low-paid, non-skilled laborer in the heath. As always, Hardy's portrait of human nature is unsparing and quite impassive, and here overlays his most somber scenery. The ingredients for this Hardy tragedy: an incompatible husband and wife, conflicting ambitions, forestalled dreams, a harsh heath, a ferocious rainstorm, and Hardy's characteristic inhibited empathy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    J

    There used to be a lot more words in the world. Now we're all about short, blunt sentences. So obvious. So boring. There used to be a lot more words in the world. Now we're all about short, blunt sentences. So obvious. So boring.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    I enjoy many classic authors, chief amongst them Jane Austen. It is a truth universally acknowledged that she parodied the people and books of her time in order to criticize society. Now I know why. ;) Thomas Hardy is one of those names almost everyone has heard before. Doesn't mean all people who recognize the name have also read one of his books. Shamefully, I have to admit that while I had heard the name, I had never read anything by him either. Thus, in our quest to completely drown me in mon I enjoy many classic authors, chief amongst them Jane Austen. It is a truth universally acknowledged that she parodied the people and books of her time in order to criticize society. Now I know why. ;) Thomas Hardy is one of those names almost everyone has heard before. Doesn't mean all people who recognize the name have also read one of his books. Shamefully, I have to admit that while I had heard the name, I had never read anything by him either. Thus, in our quest to completely drown me in monthly schedules, Brad and I decided that we'd give one of his books a chance. We enter a rural area in England and meet a host of its inhabitants. There are Eustacia, an exotic (because Greco-Roman roots) beauty; Thomasin, a pretty if not as exotic young woman; Clym, a diamond merchant; Mrs. Yeobright, who is Clym's mother and Thomasin's aunt; Venn, the reddleman; Damon Wildeve, a local innkeeper. These are the central characters. At the beginning of the novel, Thomasin (after having turned down Venn's proposal a few years ago) is on her way to marry Damon, who has had and is still having a passionate love affair with the bored and arrogant Eustacia, before she discovers and starts desiring Clym, against the wishes of Mrs. Yeobright. So yeah, it's basically one big relationship novel. However, there are also events set in motion by each respective character that will have serious repercussions, thereby exploring all kinds of character traits. Eustacia and Damon were the worst characters here. While Mrs. Yeobright was far too stiff in her social mannerisms and expectations, she at least cared for her son and niece. Clym was ... well, after returning from Paris, he wanted a nice and quiet life and had no idea that that would be the complete opposite of what his soon-to-be wife, Eustacia, wanted/expected from the match. Damon is a player. There is no other way of saying it. One of those guys who just can't keep his pants on. While Eustacia was an arrogant bitch, who was very good at throwing tantrums and not having the least care for any other creature but herself. They were all very frightful drama queens to be honest. However (view spoiler)[that made Eustacia's and Damon's end all the more hilarious as (hide spoiler)] one could call it poetic justice. In its set-up, the novel often reminded me on many Bronte stories, what with all the melodrama. However, this book was never as horribly dark. It was also not as light and silly as Austen's hyperboles. It is placed firmly in the middle of those two opposites. What makes Hardy stand out despite the mundane topic of relationship problems are two things: First, the beauty of his prose. From the first line when he starts describing Edgon Heath (the setting) to the very end (a year and a day later), I was enchanted. Seriously wonderful craftmanship! Second, there is the fact that Hardy quite liberally describes the sexual escapades of Eustacia and Damon. This is still in no way pornographic unless expressions like "tumbling in the hay" get you going (I already know who will answer in the affirmative to that), but when this was published as a serial in 1878, his open way of addressing social misconducts and his open acknowledgement of illicit sexual relationships caused quite the stir! In any way, this was one of those classics that I'm glad I didn't miss out on even if the general story is nothing special. This might also have something to do with the fact that my audio version was superbly narrated by none other that Alan Rickman. *swoons*

  13. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Hardy’s paean to the doom-laden Dorset hills, featuring more wuthering heights than boatload of Brontës, an epic tragic crescendo, and a feisty heroine lassoed into a straightjacket of Victorian sexual conventions. The stars of this novel are the roiling word-sculptures of tumult Hardy makes from the unforgiving Wessex hills and peaks, that occupy the first quarter of the novel, ahead of the protagonist’s tardy arrival. Clym Yeobright, neither young nor that bright, bags the ravenous stunner Eus Hardy’s paean to the doom-laden Dorset hills, featuring more wuthering heights than boatload of Brontës, an epic tragic crescendo, and a feisty heroine lassoed into a straightjacket of Victorian sexual conventions. The stars of this novel are the roiling word-sculptures of tumult Hardy makes from the unforgiving Wessex hills and peaks, that occupy the first quarter of the novel, ahead of the protagonist’s tardy arrival. Clym Yeobright, neither young nor that bright, bags the ravenous stunner Eustacia Vye, and the two waltz into an ill-thought ill-prepared marriage with conflicting ambitions, and unamusing consequences. A little plump in heavy-handed classical allusions at times, and with an overfondness for the rustic dialects, The Return of the Native is nevertheless one of Hardy’s most challenging and stimulating novels.

  14. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    Alan Rickman narrates 'Nuf said Audio #89 I am so enamored with Rickman’s voice he might as well be reading the phone book. He’s beautiful. I actually swooned when the story began, I have never swooned. So when it comes down to it Rickman was just an added bonus! I'm never disappointed in a Thomas Hardy story. This was stupendous Alan Rickman narrates 'Nuf said Audio #89 I am so enamored with Rickman’s voice he might as well be reading the phone book. He’s beautiful. I actually swooned when the story began, I have never swooned. So when it comes down to it Rickman was just an added bonus! I'm never disappointed in a Thomas Hardy story. This was stupendous

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ṣafā

    So, what do I say about this extraordinary novel. I have a feeling this is going to turn into a story. I'd like to begin by saying that this was my Mother's. Previously, I have read Tess of the D'Urbervilles (also because of my mom who narrated it to me when I was younger) by Hardy and I was bewitched by his picturesque poetic prose, and I have Far from the Madding Crowd waiting on my shelf (I watched the movie with my mom). I love Classics, my love for them is unbounded. ❤ So, about The Return of So, what do I say about this extraordinary novel. I have a feeling this is going to turn into a story. I'd like to begin by saying that this was my Mother's. Previously, I have read Tess of the D'Urbervilles (also because of my mom who narrated it to me when I was younger) by Hardy and I was bewitched by his picturesque poetic prose, and I have Far from the Madding Crowd waiting on my shelf (I watched the movie with my mom). I love Classics, my love for them is unbounded. ❤ So, about The Return of the Native, it's a funny story. So I finish The Divergent Series, like all of them except We Can Be Mended which I couldn't get for free and I was craving a story with depth, like real depth, a Classic, for me, so I tell myself that pick the hardest book on your shelf, one that you wouldn't pick up on a normal day so my hand automatically goes to The Return of the Native, like it's obvious, duh. The backstory is it had been kind of been in the backlist for a long while, actually ever since I added my mother's books to mine. It kind of had a bleak cover, it was a cheap student edition so it didn't look so good and I kept thinking it's some dry book so it's gonna be difficult to read it. So, here was a quandary and an opportunity so I went for it.  So, I start reading and it's like all Classics, taking it's time getting to the story, but what is worst, after not having read a Classic for some time and reading YA for like the past ten days, I've lost my momentum in Classic reading, I'm unable to focus my attention and I keep losing interest. The first two days were agony. At first, I wouldn't even pick it up, I was so not eager to. Then, I pick it up and I doze off a little into it. Yeah, the first two or three days, I kept dozing off, it was so funny and annoying. The point was getting to the middle of the book. The last two times I snooze by the time I was getting to the middle, I had the scenario acting in my head, I was completing the sentences (of my own making) in my head, like gah! I want to read this book so bad, but the writing is deep and convoluted and I keep nodding off. After I had finished half the book, thankfully, that was over. I had just to reach the middle to relax and focus, and the story picked up by then too, because it really wasn't difficult after that. Actually, much to my bewilderment, it turned out to be quite an easy book compared to other Classics (and my assumptions about it). It's plot and storyline were relatively simple and by the end had easily broken down but was nevertheless cute. By the end, I didn't even notice until I had reached the last two pages. And, by the end, to my surprise, I had that feeling as if I had lost a friend.  It was not a sad parting but a happy one and I can't help but smile now. I learned some new things and I learned, as ever, not to judge a book by its cover, even though I hardly do. Not Hardy's best work but definitely an experience in itself. It's one of Hardy's Wessex novels centered on Egdon Heath. The Return of the Native, the title, is about a young man just returned home from Paris for good after long years of being unfulfilled in the Diamond business to become a schoolmaster to the illiterate, Clementine "Clym" Yeobright. The novel revolves around his mother Mrs. Yeobright, his cousin Thomasin "Tamsin" Yeobright, his cousin's old admirer Diggory Venn called the reddleman (he travels the country supplying farmers with a red mineral called reddle (dialect term for red ochre) that farmers use to mark their sheep), his cousin's intended Damon Wildeve and Wildeve's clandestine love Eustacia Vye. Charley, Sam, Grandfer Cantle, Timothy Fairway, Christian Cantle, Humphrey, Susan Nunsuch and her child John Nunsuch, Olly Dowden and Captain Vye (Eustacia's grandfather) are the supporting characters, the furze and turf (which grows on the heath) cutters, the help, manual workers and the elders of the heath which make for a very endearing part of the book, which, incidentally, starts with them. The heath was a marvel of nature, a world in itself, a living being. I could relate to it more than to the myriad of locations presented in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. I loved every part of the heath, every inhabitant, every part, every home, the heath itself. I could feel what Clym felt for his home, what Thomasin did while also understanding Eustacia's feelings. The imagery was so vivid, I could see and feel the characters walking around the heath, hiding them amongst the heather, the insects and animals in the furze, the frogs in the ponds and the heath breathing and witnessing everything. I felt Sherwood forest vibes (from Henry Gilbert's Robin Hood) when green turf and shepherd's thyme were mentioned.  The first chapter introduces Egdon Heath, making it immortal in the reader's mind, “...vast tract of unenclosed wild known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment.”  “To recline on a stump of thorn in the central valley of Egdon, between afternoon and night, as now, where the eye could reach nothing of the world outside the summits and shoulders of heathland which filled the whole circumference of its glance, and to know that everything around and underneath had been from prehistoric times as unaltered as the stars overhead, gave ballast to the mind adrift on change, and harassed by the irrepressible New. The great inviolate place had an ancient permanence which the sea cannot claim.” Slepe Heath in Dorset immortalised as fictional Egdon Heath, which has been bought by the National Trust and the second chapter brings us to the self-serving and beautiful Eustacia Vye, Hardy's modern woman, from the city but exiled to live in Egdon with her grandfather, “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.”  “And she seemed to long for the abstraction called passionate love more than for any actual lover.” and from there on the heath begins to give up its secrets one by one. The arrival of the reddleman to the heath is a balm to everyone's wounds and he helps to bring a family together and just when everything seems to be falling apart and coming together, the native, Clym Yeobright, returns, unmindful of how he is going to change the course of everyone's lives. I liked it's construction; the division into books and chapters.The names of the chapters were so adorable, telling the theme of the chapter and the direction of the story without giving too much away. The character of the reddleman was quite amusing and a rare example of ingenuity and humility. I loved how his character appeared here and there without notice. (view spoiler)[It was a bit typical in the sense that God's wrath is visited upon Clym for disobeying his mother. I loved how he gave to furze-cutting being a practical rather than a proud man. He set out to do something entirely radical, his plans were cut short but I really liked what he ended up doing, his redemption and his life. It was a great end to the story. (hide spoiler)] The evolution of Thomasin, her sacrifices, her bravery and her charm in the face of adversity from the moment she set out of her aunt's house till the end when she recovered her gaiety was faith-affirming. (view spoiler)[Eustacia's end, though, she didn't deserve it. She always tried to be good as much as she knew to be and fidelity was embedded in her personality but the circumstances were not in her favor. I could not help but sympathise with her at the time of her downfall. She was cursed by the people around her. (hide spoiler)] But I really liked the inclusion of witchery in the book in the way that led to its end and the hypocrisy behind it. The ending, to my great surprise, was certainly climactic and, in ways, just. I liked how the story ended, poetically. It was a beautiful book.  I love how after reading a book you feel transformed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    My very first Hardy. I've always had this impression of Hardy but I've never had an actual OCCASION to actually read him! Naturally, I have been mortified at my neglect. So many people have been required to read his works and yet I have gracelessly skipped on by. For shame! So what do I think of this Master of the English Novel? OMG he writes such TORRID SOAP OPERAS! I mean, let me be clear here: his writing from the very first passages was GORGEOUS, flowing, evocative, and darkly humorous. And tha My very first Hardy. I've always had this impression of Hardy but I've never had an actual OCCASION to actually read him! Naturally, I have been mortified at my neglect. So many people have been required to read his works and yet I have gracelessly skipped on by. For shame! So what do I think of this Master of the English Novel? OMG he writes such TORRID SOAP OPERAS! I mean, let me be clear here: his writing from the very first passages was GORGEOUS, flowing, evocative, and darkly humorous. And that's just the description of the fictional town. I LOVED IT. And then we were introduced to the people. Young people, all of them. Stupid young people. With not a lick of sense, amazing passions, blinded perceptions, wild imaginations, and almost guaranteed spots on any daytime tv serial designed to spark emotion but not even two brain cells. For all that, I loved the characterizations and the build-up before the first of the marriages... and then things took a dark turn. Things went from Wuthering Heights DRAMA to Wuthering Heights tragic. Ish. I mean, nothing gets THAT tragic. Or drenched in pathos. But this does come close. :) Oh, woe! Woe! Woe! Whoah. Recommend? Well, let me put it this way. I would knock on every door and pound on any window if I read a writer with this much talent putting his skills to a much worthier topic than the stupidities and tragedies of kids with their heads firmly ensconced in their backsides. To imagine this as a fantasy title would have me jittering with enough pent-up excitement to power a city block for a week. But alas. Alak. This is just a torrid soap opera. A good one, mind you, and it even ends on a solid moral foundation for the edification of the gentle reader too scared to be scandalized by a whiff of IMMORALITY. But then, we must make some adjustments for the time in which this was written. It really is a classic of wonderful WRITING. Too bad about the ideas. Alas. :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    "What depressed you?" "Life." This sums up every Thomas Hardy novel I have ever read. However, and this may shock and surprise you, ... I really liked this one. In contrast to Tess of the D'Urbervilles or Far from the Madding Crowd, I did not get exasperated with the characters, did not want to slap them or root for the sheep to turn into man-eating overlords - even though I still think that this would have made a better plot than what Far from the Madding Crowd had to offer. The Return of the Nati "What depressed you?" "Life." This sums up every Thomas Hardy novel I have ever read. However, and this may shock and surprise you, ... I really liked this one. In contrast to Tess of the D'Urbervilles or Far from the Madding Crowd, I did not get exasperated with the characters, did not want to slap them or root for the sheep to turn into man-eating overlords - even though I still think that this would have made a better plot than what Far from the Madding Crowd had to offer. The Return of the Native was quite different - it also had a woman at the centre of the story but the people around her were much more interesting characters, more likable, and some with a great sense of humor, or was it Hardy showing us his own sense of fun? Anyway, I loved Eustacia Vye. "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." She had gumption and ambition, even though both made her ostracize herself from the community around her. And being different or an outcast from the community is never a good thing in a Hardy novel. "An environment which would have made a contented woman a poet, a suffering woman a devotee, a pious woman a psalmist, even a giddy woman thoughtful, made a rebellious woman saturnine." The themes that Hardy addresses in this book are similar to the ones in Tess and Madding Crowd. I.e. the isolation of individuals who are or want to be different from the crowd (or "flock" in the case of Madding Crowd), the consequences of breaking with social norms, the superstitions that prevent social progress, etc. are all present in The Return of the Native but it is in this book that I found Hardy did not come across as delivering his criticism as a lecture. His use of humor and his patience in drawing up well-rounded, complex characters really helped make me want to invest time in the book. Of course, having the book narrated by Alan Rickman helped, too, but given my previous experience with Hardy, I was surprised that I did not only enjoy the book but that I actually wanted to find out what happened to the characters. Who knows, I might now even add Jude the Obscure to the TBR.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    The Return of the Native is the fourth Thomas Hardy novel I have read or reread in the past 3-4 months, and one of his most popular; however, it took me a while into it. Hardy had an idea to structure it as five books in the manner of Greek tragedy, but the book was first read serially in newspapers, and Hardy was pressured to succumb to popular demand in making his (much miserable, as is typical with him) ending happier: “The writer may state here that the original conception of the story did no The Return of the Native is the fourth Thomas Hardy novel I have read or reread in the past 3-4 months, and one of his most popular; however, it took me a while into it. Hardy had an idea to structure it as five books in the manner of Greek tragedy, but the book was first read serially in newspapers, and Hardy was pressured to succumb to popular demand in making his (much miserable, as is typical with him) ending happier: “The writer may state here that the original conception of the story did not design a marriage between Thomasin and Venn. He was to have retained his isolated and weird character to the last … Thomasin remaining a widow ... But certain circumstances of serial publication led to a change of intent. Readers can therefore choose between the endings, and those with an austere artistic code can assume the more consistent conclusion to be the true one.” The major players include the setting, Egdon Heath, which is an ancient pagan site with a dark air of mystery which (the gorgeous, dark-haired) Eustacia Vye insists will kill her if she stays there any longer. She’s in a way a kind of femme fatale as she is not that sympathetic a character who seems to lead men down dark paths. Some people think she may be a witch. I recall that in Catcher in the Rye Holden says he likes a book that makes you feel as if the author is a friend that you could call. He says he’d like to call Thomas Hardy, and also that he likes “that Eustacia Vye.” Like Holden, she’s a misfit, a (possibly) misunderstod outside. I didn’t like her early on, but I came to like her later when things get wild. “To be loved to madness--such was her great desire. Love was to her the one cordial which could drive away the eating loneliness of her days. And she seemed to long for the abstraction called passionate love more than for any particular lover.” “A blaze of love and extinction, was better than a lantern glimmer of the same which should last long years.” Eustacia turns down an offer for marriage from her lover Damon Wildeve (he has no money and doesn’t think he’s special, early on), who then marries the much nicer Thomasin; Eustacia wants to escape to Paris; she seeks out Clym Yeobright, just returned from Paris to become a teacher of poor children, hoping to get him to change his mind. Good luck with that. To no avail Clym’s mother counsels him not to marry Eustacia and his cousin Thomasin not to marry Wildeve. Sometimes mothers are right! Everything she says makes sense to us about how these are bad matches. Early on Clym nearly goes blind from reading [note to readers?], has to take a job as a furze-cutter, which drives Eustacia to despair since she wants a high-class Parisian husband, and into the arms of (new father) Wildeve. I can imagine how this novel became wildly popular as it was being serialized in the newspapers. It begins slowly, sort of drags, but builds this tragic operatic story in sort of sensational fashion with amazing skill. The drama! All the stupid mistakes people make! I can imagine people standing around reading this in the street, some of them weeping or crying aloud: Stupid idiot! Why are you doing this?! One really interesting character is Venn, the reddlemen (a travelling seller of reddle, red chalk used for marking sheep) who is early on a protector of Thomasin though she had turned him down for marriage years before. He looks red until he turns to dairy farming, and while red there is some indication he is sort of diabolical. . . or has kinda magical realist powers. . . maybe he had something to do with this: “The next morning, when Thomasin withdrew the curtains of her bedroom window, there stood the Maypole, its top cutting into the sky. It had sprung up in the night. or rather early morning, like Jack's bean-stalk.” Anyway, apparently serial readers pulled for him to be able to marry Thomasin (which, yes, could only happen is Wildeve is out of the way. So, yeah, several key characters die along the way, one of them Wildeve) and they got their way. I liked it quite a bit, though maybe not as much as Tess or Jude. It has a touch of the gothic in it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    I kept falling asleep at the beginning of this book. Finally I gave up. I mentioned to my friend Rich that I'd stalled out, and he quoted his high school English teacher, whose words predicted Rich's own experience of the novel: "For the first fifty pages, we would think Return of the N the worst book we had ever read and after that it would seem the best book we had ever read." So I pressed on, and sure enough, around page fifty the book grabbed me and didn't let go till I finished. One of the I kept falling asleep at the beginning of this book. Finally I gave up. I mentioned to my friend Rich that I'd stalled out, and he quoted his high school English teacher, whose words predicted Rich's own experience of the novel: "For the first fifty pages, we would think Return of the N the worst book we had ever read and after that it would seem the best book we had ever read." So I pressed on, and sure enough, around page fifty the book grabbed me and didn't let go till I finished. One of the main characters in this novel is named Diggory Venn, and I thought of Venn diagrams while reading this book, which is about intersecting circles of romantic desire. (It turns out, though, that the novel was published in 1878, and John Venn didn't introduce his diagram until 1881.) Still, the diagram seems to evoke the complicated connections among the five major characters, whose very names are wonderful: Diggory Venn, Clement (Clym) Yeobright, Eustacia Vye, Thomasin Yeobright, and Damon Wildeve. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield mentions that he likes Eustacia Vye. I still can't figure out why. She is a great character, though--proud, imperious, impetuous. Hardy describes her as "the raw material of a divinity. On Olympus she would have done well," he writes, for "She had the passions and instincts which make a model goddess, that is, those which make not quite a model woman." Indeed, this character who might have been at home as a goddess on Olympus meets a tragic end amid the mortal constraints of the desolate Egdon Heath. I like reading Hardy during the summers (I read Tess of the D'Urbervilles over the summer nine years ago, and tried and failed to read Jude the Obscure the following summer. (Maybe I should go back and give it another try, too.) The bleakness of his vision is easier to take when the world is green and sweet leisure is plentiful. This one's somewhat less bleak than Tess, though, given its ending which, according to a footnote from Hardy, was made sunnier because of "certain circumstances of serial publication."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    The story is set in Victorian England on Egdon Heath, a fictional place in the fictional region of Wessex in southwestern England. It focuses on six individuals--two cousins (Clym Yeobright and Thomasin Yeobright), Mrs. Yeobright (the mother of Clym and the aunt of Thomasin) and those whom Clym and Thomasin might marry (Eustacia Vye, Damon Wildeve and Digory Venn). The question asked is who will marry whom. Will marriage bring happiness? Can one, should one struggle against one’s inner desires, The story is set in Victorian England on Egdon Heath, a fictional place in the fictional region of Wessex in southwestern England. It focuses on six individuals--two cousins (Clym Yeobright and Thomasin Yeobright), Mrs. Yeobright (the mother of Clym and the aunt of Thomasin) and those whom Clym and Thomasin might marry (Eustacia Vye, Damon Wildeve and Digory Venn). The question asked is who will marry whom. Will marriage bring happiness? Can one, should one struggle against one’s inner desires, one’s destiny, one’s fate? What happens if one tries to live contrary to societal norms? I like how Hardy draws the heath and the moor and places and scenes that are desolate and dark, dismal and forlorn. I like how he forms the tale using the classical elements of a tragedy. Nothing else worked for me. The tale is plot oriented. If that is what you are looking for you will probably like it more than I did. This first came out in 1878 in twelve monthly instalments in the magazine Belgravia, a magazine known for having lurid, sensationalistic content. The scandalous content here being adulterous sexual relationships. Today, the sexual content must be viewed as tame. To find out what will happen in the next installment is why one picks up the book. The rise and fall of excitement in each installment determines the flow. The repeated ups and downs make the flow of the tale predictable. The book came to have two different endings—one happier than the other. You know you have the happier one if you have a version consisting of six rather than five sections, each section is referred to as a “book”. The “sixth book” is entitled Aftercourses. The audiobook I listened to is the longer version, the happier version, the version including Aftercourses, the version that supposedly is not how Hardy originally envisioned the story to end, but which he did agree to. I would have preferred the more tragic ending. I asked myself the following question: Is the happier ending realistic? Would the characters, as the author has chosen to draw them, do what they end up doing in the happier version? My answer? Sure, they might, but the reader is not shown the characters’ internal psychological process of change. Thomasin is not drawn with depth. Her change from (view spoiler)[one spouse to another (hide spoiler)] is possible, but simply because you scarcely know her. She Is not drawn so one comes to feel empathy or feeling for her. Then there is Clym. He changes his (view spoiler)[profession (hide spoiler)] several times. I never felt the story adequately showed why he left the (view spoiler)[diamond trade to become a teacher. When his vision becomes impaired, he is reduced to life as a furze-cutter. Finally, when his whole life has become a total mess, it is not hard to guess, but it is still a guess, why he chose to become a preacher (hide spoiler)] . The point is that we observe the progression (view spoiler)[from one profession to the next (hide spoiler)] as action in the plot rather than focus being placed on his inner turmoil. He did this and then this and then this, but readers are not coerced into analyzing why. Digory Venn is too good. Damon Wildeve to much of the bad guy. Mrs. Yeobright, the mother figure, failed me too. The characters are flat. I am saying the book focuses too much on plot and too little on character portrayal. The story feels dated. It gave me little to think about. Who thinks today that our destinies are predetermined by fate? I can only go so far as to say that a person’s inherent personality influences the choices they make. Alan Rickman narrates the audiobook. I gave his narration four stars. He reads slowly, giving one time to suck on the words. This is why I liked the narration as much as I did. His reading enhances the atmosphere drawn by the author’s words. At times it is difficult to distinguish between the male and female characters. He has an undeniably appealing voice. ************** The Return of the Native 2 stars Far From the Madding Crowd 2 stars Jude the Obscure 1 star

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    The setting of this book gives it an even more isolated feel than other Hardy novels as though the small communities making a living gathering sedge were cut off even from the rest of rural Wessex. The whole business of sedge cutting adds tragedy which maybe Hardy hadn't intended, for us this is a vanished world, such landscapes have been either transformed or abandoned, they haven't survived, as human landscapes employing hundreds working with hand tools. For the modern reader then there is a fi The setting of this book gives it an even more isolated feel than other Hardy novels as though the small communities making a living gathering sedge were cut off even from the rest of rural Wessex. The whole business of sedge cutting adds tragedy which maybe Hardy hadn't intended, for us this is a vanished world, such landscapes have been either transformed or abandoned, they haven't survived, as human landscapes employing hundreds working with hand tools. For the modern reader then there is a fine feeling of inevitable tragedy and heart ache even before we see the crossed trajectories of the male and female leads. Two people with a broader perspective and outlook than the rest of the people they live with, the man is returning from his apprenticeship and yearns for home, the woman yearns for escape and to live in the wider world. As it's Hardy of course you know there will be tears before bedtime. Identity, as one might expect from someone who specified that his heart should be buried in Wessex (view spoiler)[ the rest of his body is now in Westminster Abbey (hide spoiler)] , is tightly aligned with place and so geography resolves the love triangle - and who doesn't find Atlases romantic? The nineteenth century saw such a range of massive dislocations and yet at the heart of Hardy I wonder if the shrinking of space and the blurring or blanding of one area into another wasn't the worst even as it made it possible for him to be a writer rather than a stonemason. Hardy is the bard of lost lives and might have beens and all that is swept away as the world changes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    I loved this book so much that I stayed up until 4:20 am just to finish it and see what happened at the end. I have to admit reading Thomas Hardy is no walk in the park for me. I never considered myself a total slouch in vocabulary, but after reading two of his books, I feel as if I have the vocabulary of a second grader !! Many people ( based on the ratings here ) have called his work lugubrious and word heavy and I have to agree. He uses words that you absolutely never hear in conversation and m I loved this book so much that I stayed up until 4:20 am just to finish it and see what happened at the end. I have to admit reading Thomas Hardy is no walk in the park for me. I never considered myself a total slouch in vocabulary, but after reading two of his books, I feel as if I have the vocabulary of a second grader !! Many people ( based on the ratings here ) have called his work lugubrious and word heavy and I have to agree. He uses words that you absolutely never hear in conversation and many may be classified as archaic or even obsolete by today's standards. But can that man tell a story ! Naturally as he was writing in the late Victorian era there are not going to be any 50 shades of grey type story telling - but for stories that are 125 years old+, they are rather spicy, depressing and fairly scandalous for their time. Highly recommended !

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    I read this because Holden Caulfield was reading it. He liked that Eustacia Vye! I just cracked up at the name (Eustacia's, not Holden's). I read this because Holden Caulfield was reading it. He liked that Eustacia Vye! I just cracked up at the name (Eustacia's, not Holden's).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Hardy at his best. First tier in storytelling, character development, and use of language and description. It is like being served a feast to listen to Hardy entone over the features of the heath. The wet young beeches were undergoing amputations, bruises, cripplings, and harsh lacertations, from which the wasting sap would bleed for many a day to come, and which would leave scars visible till the day of their burning. Each stem was wrenched at the root, where it moved like a bone in its socket, Hardy at his best. First tier in storytelling, character development, and use of language and description. It is like being served a feast to listen to Hardy entone over the features of the heath. The wet young beeches were undergoing amputations, bruises, cripplings, and harsh lacertations, from which the wasting sap would bleed for many a day to come, and which would leave scars visible till the day of their burning. Each stem was wrenched at the root, where it moved like a bone in its socket, and at every onset of the gale convulsive sounds came from the branches, as if pain were felt" So real and bleak and unforgiving a place, yet so full of love and loveliness and longing. Was there ever a more heartbreaking woman than Eustacia Vye? I feel so deeply for her angst at being misplaced in Egdon and pity her dreams and desires of another world (which most likely does not exist in the way that she believes it does). She makes a poor bargain, and she makes it over and over again. She always takes the wrong course and is so thoroughly misunderstood by everyone, with the possible exception of Damon. Was there ever a man more inept than Clym Yeobright? While he dawdles over who should make the first move, who is owed forgiveness most, and what is the best action to take, he lets every opportunity to stem disaster slide through his fingers. He is so sadly on that path of good intentions that leads to a sure hell, that he makes you scream in your head, "do something". Was there ever a man harder to fathom than Damon Wildeve? He is neither good enough to love nor evil enough to hate. In the end, he is the catalyst that sets all the sadness in motion and makes it inevitable that no one can be truly happy who falls within his sphere. He seems incapable of any real love until his choice seals his fate. So much misunderstanding and misadventure is overwhelming, as if it were God playing with Job or perhaps just winking at the way the humans stumble into one avoidable quagmire after another. The sense of doom hangs over everything, even the joyful wedding parties, in such a typically Hardy fashion. One cannot help wondering if happiness is even possible in this environ or if the heath itself does not eschew human delights and loves. Living in a time when so few options were open to women, Hardy is a master of capturing the sadness and despair that can accompany them in their lot. Eustacia fights against this norm, and finds herself more trapped than most. Thomasin might find herself in the same situation but for a kinder fate guiding her steps (and the interferences of Diggory Venn). That a woman can be too easily ruined is obvious; that she is at the mercy of the morality of men leaves her in constant danger. She has, in fact, very little control over her own fate. I loved this novel. Like Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge, this left me heart torn and feeling very vulnerable and human. I kept wanting to warn the characters, especially Clym, to be more aware of the possible consequences of their choices, to hurry or to slow down, to make one small change and save themselves and all around them. But, of course, none of Hardy's characters ever listen to me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cb

    I got myself an old copy of the book (few dollars, London Macmillan & Co Ltd 1959) It's the kind of book that you hold carefully in your hand, And you know you have something to be treasured. (Publication date of Return of the native is 1878) The first chapter is titled: A face on which time makes but little impression. The author describes the Wessex moors. This chapter is well worth of your time. It is clear that you are reading a master's work. I got also the audio book and Alan Rickman is perfect. Of I got myself an old copy of the book (few dollars, London Macmillan & Co Ltd 1959) It's the kind of book that you hold carefully in your hand, And you know you have something to be treasured. (Publication date of Return of the native is 1878) The first chapter is titled: A face on which time makes but little impression. The author describes the Wessex moors. This chapter is well worth of your time. It is clear that you are reading a master's work. I got also the audio book and Alan Rickman is perfect. Of course, it won an award! I felt that I was in an English literature class with professor Snape as the teacher, I was in heaven. Who would not dream of having a class at Hogwarts!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    Every once in a great while you read a novel that just knocks you back onto your keister. Well, for me, this was just one of those novels. I finished reading Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native several days ago, and it made such an impression upon me that I turned to page one, and began it all over again! The first impression? Wow! Upon finishing it for the second time? I concur with the first impression. This is the fourth in Hardy's series of eight 'Wessex' novels, all being set in his nati Every once in a great while you read a novel that just knocks you back onto your keister. Well, for me, this was just one of those novels. I finished reading Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native several days ago, and it made such an impression upon me that I turned to page one, and began it all over again! The first impression? Wow! Upon finishing it for the second time? I concur with the first impression. This is the fourth in Hardy's series of eight 'Wessex' novels, all being set in his native countryside of southwestern England. Originally, The Return of the Native was serialized in twelve monthly installments in Belgravia magazine in 1878. Interestingly, Belgravia magazine was edited by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (of Lady Audley's Secret fame) and her husband, John Maxwell. The Return of the Native takes place over the course of a year and one-day, and the setting of the novel is entirely on the fictional Egdon Heath of Hardy's Wessex. In fact, Egdon Heath with its rolling hills and dense warrens of scrubby, spiny, and brown furze should absolutely be considered one of the main characters listed in the novel's Dramatis Personae. The novel, as Hardy originally intended and envisioned, is a tragedy in five parts; however, he was persuaded by the editors, for serialization purposes, to add a final sixth book (Aftercourses). Hardy even includes a disclaimer at the start of this sixth book suggesting that the reader choose the ending for the novel that he or she deems appropriate. Hardy was not a fan of adding the sixth book to the novel. The first fifty pages, or so, of the novel feels like something out of the Britain of the Druids. Hardy's description of the Egdon Heath, the late fall weather, and the magical, almost pagan, customs of the people surrounding their bonfires next to the ancient Celtic barrows on the night of November Fifth was simply spell-binding. And it just gets better! Early on we are introduced to the novel's primary protagonists. There's the seemingly-Mephistophelean Diggory Venn, the Reddleman, covered in red, from head-to-toe in the ochre he uses to mark the flocks of sheep; the beautiful and good-hearted Thomasin Yeobright; the 'failed' engineer, now inn-owner, Damon Wildeve; the solid and steady matron of the heath, Mrs. Yeobright; the 'Queen of Night,' the darkly beautiful 'wayward and erring heroine,' Eustacia Vye ("to be loved to madness, was her great desire"); and, finally, the 'Native,' who has returned to the heath, the only child of Mrs. Yeobright, Clym Yeobright. These six characters are locked together in a tale of passion, drama, pathos, and tragedy where, in typical Hardyan fashion, only Fate, Chance, and Irony exert any control whatsoever. Like a moth is drawn to a flame, the reader is inexorably drawn into the tale, and recognizes with a growing horror that a full release can only be attained through reaching and experiencing the novel's shocking climax. The novel contains more than a superficial nod to the great choric scenes of the Greek Tragedies, and includes the gatherings of commoners like many of Shakespeare's dramas. Hardy's characters' dialog is spare and clipped, but each word is chosen carefully and packs an emotional wallop. The descriptions of the environment, the role of the humans in it, and the interactions between the characters reminds me of the great modern American novelist, Cormac McCarthy. The Return of the Native is Hardy's Naturalism at its finest; and becomes an almost poetic homage to the interaction of the human species with one another as well as with the Earth Mother herself. Hardy chose an ode from Keats's epic Endymion as an epigraph to lead off the novel. Nothing could describe this novel better-- "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." (Endymion, Book IV, 1817)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gary the Bookworm

    The hypnotic power of The Return of the Native can't be overstated. Everyone seems under some sort of spell. But the passions of the characters are secondary to the magnitude and majesty of the rugged heath they inhabit. Those who embrace their surroundings and give in to their circumstances may find some level of peace, but woe be to those who resist. The native in the title is Clym Yeobright, who returns to his mother's home, ominously named Blooms-End, after an extended absence. He wants The hypnotic power of The Return of the Native can't be overstated. Everyone seems under some sort of spell. But the passions of the characters are secondary to the magnitude and majesty of the rugged heath they inhabit. Those who embrace their surroundings and give in to their circumstances may find some level of peace, but woe be to those who resist. The native in the title is Clym Yeobright, who returns to his mother's home, ominously named Blooms-End, after an extended absence. He wants to add meaning to his life by becoming a teacher after a successful, but unfulfilling, career as a dealer of diamonds in Paris. This sets off a series of events that end in death and despair for those he loves. He strives for a principled life of ideas, but luckily he has the capacity to adapt to the exigencies of the like he was given. Those who are not so practical-or who are more passionate in their natures-are not so lucky. For them, the subtitle of this powerful tale could be The Perils of Projection!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pink

    Hardy, hardy, hardy. Oh I'm not sure what to make of you. Sometimes you waffle on and on and after half a page I find myself thinking, what on earth are you going on about. Then you start talking about love, or heartbreak and I find myself moving in to listen closer, waiting with baited breath to find out what's coming next. I know there won't be rainbows and butterflies, but I like the bleakness. It's expected and yet gut wrenching when it hits. I'm looking forward to your next devastating stor Hardy, hardy, hardy. Oh I'm not sure what to make of you. Sometimes you waffle on and on and after half a page I find myself thinking, what on earth are you going on about. Then you start talking about love, or heartbreak and I find myself moving in to listen closer, waiting with baited breath to find out what's coming next. I know there won't be rainbows and butterflies, but I like the bleakness. It's expected and yet gut wrenching when it hits. I'm looking forward to your next devastating story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sundry

    Good medicine. I hated this book when I had to read it in high school. Maybe because I’d assumed from the title that it was going to be about American Indians. (In my defense, I’d been forced to read The Last of the Mohicans the previous year, and may have thought high school literature was all about the aboriginals.) Maybe because the entire first chapter is a description of Egdon Heath; one that still elicited a groan from me when I started listening to the audiobook a few weeks ago. This is th Good medicine. I hated this book when I had to read it in high school. Maybe because I’d assumed from the title that it was going to be about American Indians. (In my defense, I’d been forced to read The Last of the Mohicans the previous year, and may have thought high school literature was all about the aboriginals.) Maybe because the entire first chapter is a description of Egdon Heath; one that still elicited a groan from me when I started listening to the audiobook a few weeks ago. This is the first book in an experiment my friend Toronto and I are conducting, which consists of buddying up to read books that one or the other of us hated when we were assigned to read them in high school or college. Our goal is to discover whether further experience in life and literature will change our minds about the texts. Well. All I can say is, I am now utterly fascinated with Thomas Hardy. The book offers many clever turns of phrase and arresting insights, but what really got me excited at this point in my life (read that: writing life) is the structure. I found myself caught up in my conflicting hopes for the characters, all of which hang on Eustacia’s actions. I had a very clear idea of the pros and cons of her choice between Clym and Wildeve, and I couldn’t decide which would be the best. Compromises and rewards, either way. Then Hardy takes us in a direction I wasn’t considering and the outcome is satisfying because it had been set up in advance while I was focused on the more obvious possibilities. So very like life. I haven’t read Hardy’s more famous books Far From the Madding Crowd or Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I may need to soon. I’m also interested in his autobiography. I mean, the guy was born in 1840, wrote books that were very forward thinking and risky at the same time that Dickens and Georg Eliot were being published, and died in 1928. He seems such a part of another time and way of thinking, yet he was alive and kicking in the 20th century. I guess all of our lifespans are kind of phenomenal.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    great writer. used to read him a lot but quite forgot him. so nice to get hold again

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