Customer Reviews


88 Reviews
5 star:
 (61)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
The CD audio book of the Return of the Native actually deserves to be described as amazing. The lyrical prose of Hardy, combines with the incomparable voice and performance of Alan Rickman, to make this a genuine treasure.

Rickman, in his limited interviews, has repeatedly referred to himself as an instrument. In this product, the only part of that instrument...
Published on February 12, 2007 by Pamela E. Long

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book, an unlikely hero
In the book "Return of the Native", Thomas Hardy created a good premise and characters one can grow quite attached to. It seems, however, that it takes a long time for the book to get into the plot and once it's there it moves very quickly. Once the book reaches the plot, some reader might get lost. The plot seemed to revolve around the love web between...
Published on May 4, 1999


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, February 12, 2007
By 
Pamela E. Long (Charlottesville, VA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The CD audio book of the Return of the Native actually deserves to be described as amazing. The lyrical prose of Hardy, combines with the incomparable voice and performance of Alan Rickman, to make this a genuine treasure.

Rickman, in his limited interviews, has repeatedly referred to himself as an instrument. In this product, the only part of that instrument he could utilize was his voice. It is more than enough: the pictures and action spring vividly to life. Listening to his performance is sheer joy, and it rapidly makes you realize how little his capability has been tapped by film - where the whole "instrument" is utilized.

I would give this product the highest recommendation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic worth listening to, February 24, 2007
By 
C. Strickland (Phoenix, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the third time I've listened to this audio book, something I have never done before. I must admit, it gets better ever time. The description of the characters is incredible - when have you read a whole chapter describing an individual? Or the landscape? Certainly way more verbose than modern style, but the observations stand the test of time, and paint pictures that linger. None of the characters is flawless, and the errors of omission in their acts toward each other results in no end of misery. But the view of life in another time, with all its physical differences and all its emotional similarities to ours is intrigueing. And Rickman is fabulous, capturing accents and personalities that reading myself in my cozy chair in Phoenix Arizona would never have known.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Delight, December 18, 2003
By 
Aradia (Shelton, WA USA) - See all my reviews
First, I must confess to being an avid Alan Rickman admirer. The man could read the local phone book and I'd gladly pay to hear it. Thusly, when I found he had done an unabridged set of audio tapes of one of my favorite books -- "The Return of the Native" -- I was thrilled.
"The Return of the Native" is a compelling and beautifully written story. I especially like the way Hardy makes Egdon Heath itself as much a character in the story as the human denizens of the area, breathing life into it through his wonderful word pictures and his special talent for creating moods. Hardy's vivid descriptions and excellent character development make this an enchanting adventure.
Add to this the velvet-smooth voice of Rickman, and you have a treat for the imagination and the ears.
Rickman gives each of the characters his (or her) own separate voice, and manages to do so without forgetting how each should sound. How he kept it straight, I'll never know (I, myself, record books on tape for an educational company and know how complicated that can be!)...what with the many inhabitants of Egdon Heath he had to work with...but, he did. Rickman also actually sang the songs from the book (and not badly, either), adding another dimension.
"The Return of the Native" (unabridged) is a must for anyone who loves good literature on tape, and for anyone who is a fan of Alan Rickman. This is a stunning production and well worth the investment!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enter the otherworld of Egdon Heath, October 31, 2004
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. Recommended.

In Egdon Heath, Thomas Hardy creates an otherworld consisting of the elements earth, wind, fire, and water, populated by a witch condemned by a pious woman's spell, a Christian ruled by pagan beliefs, an assortment of other odd characters, and the native of the title whose return precipitates a series of tragic events.

The Return of the Native is centered around Eustacia Vye, a beautiful outsider wrenched from the society she craves by orphanhood and exiled to live on Egdon Heath with her maternal grandfather. Spoiled, vain, fickle, and selfish, Eustacia is not a sympathetic heroine. Although she claims to belong to Damon Wildeve ("body and soul" in one uncensored version), she really belongs to whomever can grant her what she desires and, in her mind, deserves. While Wildeve is a step above the local rabble, Eustacia can never fully commit herself to him. Each time she considers it, she is held back by the thought that even he lacks something and that surely she can do better. "He's not great enough for me to give myself to-he does not suffice for my desire! . . . If he had been a Saul or a Bonaparte-ah! But to break my marriage vow for him-it is too poor a luxury!"

In another place, like the Paris Eustacia longs for, she would have become a mistress or a courtesan-the consort of a powerful man or men. On Egdon Heath, however, there are neither powerful men nor courtesans. There is only Damon, an equally fickle young man who hotly desires that which he cannot have-sometimes Eustacia, sometimes the naïve Thomasin Yeobright. To complicate matters, Thomasin's cousin Clym returns from Paris, where he has a financially rewarding and spiritually stifling career. In Eustacia's eyes (blinded to what she doesn't want to see, just as Clym's sight becomes literally blurred to that which he does want to see), Clym appears to be the ideal replacement for Wildeve.

In his introduction to the "standard edition," John Paterson, talks about the censorship of The Return of the Native and its anti-Christianity elements. The novel, at least in this form, appears to be more anti-Christian than anti-Christianity. Eustacia, with her beauty; aloof and lonely snobbishness; hold over men such as Wildeve and Clym and boys such as "the little slave" Johnny Nunsuch and the adolescent Charley; and habit of haunting Rainbarrow at all hours of the night, can easily appear to fit the role of the Egdon Heath witch. Yet it is the churchgoing Susan Nunsuch who falls prey to superstition, believing that Eustacia has afflicted her son with illness. She stabs Eustacia with a needle during one of the young lady's rare church appearances. Ironically, in the end Susan is the witch, fashioning a likeness of Eustacia and practicing a homegrown form of obeah upon it.

Susan's male counterpart, the ironically named Christian, is no better. Simple-minded, naïve, and condemned to perpetual bachelorhood, Christian is pious not for love of God but for fear of life. He is ruled by superstition, and it requires little effort for Wildeve to convince him he is lucky and that he should gamble (as it turns out, with money that isn't his, adding theft to his sins).

Like Egdon Heath itself ("oozing lumps of fleshy fungi . . . like the rotten liver and lungs of some colossal animal"), the remainder of its inhabitants-the ones from whom Eustacia wishes to escape-are unflinchingly, unchangingly pagan, with Christian's own reprobate father, Granfer Cantle, setting the example. They avoid inconveniences like church; they gleefully celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with fire and dance; they gossip without undue concern for good or bad. These are the folks from whom Mrs. Yeobright and the stoic pagan Diggory Venn (the reddleman) wish to save Thomasin's reputation-as though it matters to them.

These are also the people among whom Eustacia is a queen. When she says, "How I have tried and tried to be a splendid woman and how destiny has been against me!" the reader is hard pressed to find Eustacia's efforts to better herself, other than trying to determine which man will best launch her into society. With his Paris connections, Clym is the obvious choice, yet it is Wildeve who turns out to have better prospects-and the will to take advantage of them.

Queen among the heathens of the heath, Eustacia is blissfully unaware of the probability that, in the Parisian society she aspires to, she would be one among many and might find herself unable to compete with the elite courtesans, mistresses, and wives of Paris. "I was capable of much," she claims. Hardy, however, never makes clear what this "much" might be exactly, as Eustacia's intelligence, learning, and wit are incompletely and imperfectly portrayed, and one does not make a splash in society based on looks and pride alone. Eustacia hasn't "tried and tried"; and her youthful, ambitious impatience has led her to miss the clues that Clym is not going to "try and try," either. Perhaps she, like Sue in Jude the Obscure, represents the dilemma of the intelligent woman in the 1800s, who can shape her own destiny only through attachment to the right man in a socially acceptable way. When that fails (Eustacia), or if an alternative means is attempted (Sue), tragedy is inevitable.

While not Hardy's best, The Return of the Native is a must read for his readers, incorporating a grim yet objective setting, memorable characters, and a tragic plot driven by human failings more so than the destiny at which Eustacia rails. Ignore the awkward, unconvincing happy ending, as Hardy's censors forced him to tack it on.

Diane L. Schirf, 31 October 2004.

Based on the standard edition, Harper & Row, 1966.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Native audio book, March 17, 2007
As a keen fan of Thomas Hardy, I have found this reading wonderful. Alan Rickman's rendition is beautifully paced and the characters were really brought to life by the variety of tone within his voice. Certainly, this is one of Hardy's gloomier works--but all the more fascinating for the picture given of characters in a truly remarkable landscape. I've always regarded Egdon Heath as the true hero of this work anyway. At a time when I have needed distraction from my own circumstances, this marvellous version has proved invaluable and I look forward to acquiring others to enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rickman's inspired reading brings this book to life, January 5, 2000
By 
I don't know how many times I've given up on Hardy novels - I pick them up with the best of intentions, but his language is just too ponderous for my taste. His works are undeniably masterpieces, but one must work agonizingly hard to pry the story out of the book. However, under Mr. Rickman's masterful interpretation, Egdon heath and its tragic inhabitants leapt from the book (or, as it were, the car speakers) and into my imagination, and I found myself eagerly anticipating my next road trip. I'll leave it to the other reviewers to describe the book itself, and say only that Mr. Rickman's rich voice makes Hardy's words not only tolerable but a mesmerizing (no pun intended, Rickmaniacs) sensual feast. If you're a Hardy fan or a Rickmaniac, this collection of tapes is not to be missed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When English was a beautiful, evocative language, January 25, 2003
By 
Inga W. Holmquist (Washington State, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is one of the great ones. Give yourself time and space to enjoy sentences of poetic beauty, read by one of the greatest voices of our time. Other reviewers have covered the plot, which is engaging enough, but my chief enjoyment was in the style of writing. Hardy's words paint landscapes of the soul as well as the countryside, and intertwine them within unforgetable characters of depth and spirit. The book is long, yet there is great economy of style. Hardy arranges his phrases with the care of a classical composer, and evokes richer feelings with more grace and fewer words than most of our glib and pithy authors today. I find myself wanting to buy a thesaurus for most modern authors to help them expand their vocabularies, and wishing that Alan Rickman would record another Thomas Hardy novel!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel wonderfully brought to life, May 7, 2002
Warning: This audio book is highly addictive!!!
Maybe you have to like Thomas Hardy before making your mind up to settling down to listen your way through all the 12 tapes. But you will learn to yearn for just another chapter of this, after the first tape. Another word to the yet undecided: the Return is not half as dismal as Jude the Obscure or Tess of the Durberville.
On top of the drama between six persons and the heath, which figures as another dramatis personae, there comes Mr. Rickman's superb reading. He gives every person not only his or her own characteristic voice. But his descriptions of the landscape make you see the scenery (apart from the introduction, the description of Mrs. Yeobright's garden on the day of her fatal excursion is compelling. He makes you feel the sweltering heat of that day). Just two highlights certainly are the dicing-game on the midnight heath (tape 6) as well as Clyms and Eustacias final dispute (tape 10). But the whole recording in itself is a highlight.
Just one technical afterthought: It would be sensible to edit it on CD. Tapes do not keep so well in the long run and I tremble that one day the tapes may give up.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardy and Rickman, what a pairing!, June 20, 2000
What could be better than to be saved from monotony of rush hour traffic than to hear Thomas Hardy's Characters come alive with the meleflous voice of Alan Rickman. I was completly caught up with Eustacia Vye and her impossible quest for love and far away places. It was both a heartbreaking and lovely way to spend 12 hours on the road!
Get this audio book as soon as possible! You won't regret it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Velvet At Its Absolute Best, October 6, 2003
By 
MrsRickman_forever (pitman, nj United States) - See all my reviews
After listening to Return of the Native, I was simply amazed. The story was so good and I really enjoyed it. But what really took my breath away was the sensational reading of the very talented and very sexy, Alan Rickman. He just owned those characters. He gave each character a unique voice and personality. I just cannot get over how good he was. Oh, and did I mention he sings in french!!!! After listening to that part, I was speechless. I feel like I had just melted it was so beautiful!! I recommend this to ANY Rickmaniac!:)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0x9ed84828)

This product

The Return of the Native (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Return of the Native (Dover Thrift Editions) by Thomas Hardy (Paperback - December 28, 2011)
$5.00
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.