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The Return of the Native (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – February 13, 2001
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--D. H. Lawrence
From the Inside Flap
As Alexander Theroux asserts in his Introduction, Hardy was "committed to the deep expression of [nature's] ironic chaos and strange apathy, even hostility, toward man."
Top Customer Reviews
The central tragic figure is Eustacia Vye, a young woman who has come to live on Egdon Heath with her cantankerous grandfather. Despising the dreariness of the heath and generally secluding herself from the local populace, she is somewhat of an outsider and not well liked by some in the community. She was in love with Damon Wildeve, a former engineer who now owns an inn and is not too happy about it; but their affair has since cooled and Wildeve has turned his attention to a girl named Thomasin Yeobright. Wildeve and Thomasin's wedding is aborted when the marriage license turns out to be invalid, and Thomasin, running home to her aunt in shame and anger, is caught on the rebound by Diggory Venn, her long-time admirer. A word about Venn's profession is in order: He is a "reddleman," who, not unlike the ice cream man in the summertime, rides around the heath in a van selling a strange product that shades its vendor most memorably.
Completing the quintet is Thomasin's cousin Clym Yeobright, an Egdon Heath native who is returning permanently after living for some time in Paris as a diamond merchant. Destiny eventually unites Clym and Eustacia in love, but Clym's mother does not approve of the union; she doesn't like Eustacia, and she fears their being married would prevent or discourage Clym from returning to his lucrative career in Paris.Read more ›
Hardy's characterisation is highly realistic in that the boundaries between 'good' and 'bad' characters are somewhat fluid. He also explores the idea of the 'fatal flaw' and how people inevitably destroy themselves and those they hold most dear. If you're looking for a 'feel-good' novel this is not the one to go for but if you enjoy enjoy novels like Wuthering Heights and Tess of the Durbervilles then place your order now...
Eustacia Vye is a magnificent heroine, and her power, ardor and ultimate destiny as perhaps in excess of the more common neighbors is intense and pagan and unforgettable. The heath is a pre-christian place, remote not only from civilization but from all that is ordinary. In a small country, with massive social rules, the heath is alive and in posession of a soul. They keep the ancient traditions of festivals and bonfires, the people even speak their own language. The book has enhanced battles with the elements that seem to be offended and punishing ill-fated love. No one who reads this book will forget the red man, seeming to be a favorite of those pagan gods.
This is a romance that is eternal. Read it again, or read it with an inner openness and it will repay your time and soul.
Yep, Journey and Thomas Hardy DO have something in common: They both understand a woman's intense yearnings for something beyond small town life.
The best advice I can give to any would-be readers of Return of the Native is to stay with this tale; it gets better and better. In all honesty, one could probably skip the first 3 chapters (roughly 40 pages) and not miss much . I love Hardy's imagery and descriptive flights of fancy, but 40 pages of country customs and heath descriptions are too much even for the most dedicated reader.
This is quite a love triangle, and even beyond that Hardy lets very few get out alive or unscathed. This is a book to be read in autumn or winter nights, preferably with some bourbon in hand. (Though if you've read Jude the Obscure, this is a notch below that on the Hardy Tragedy Scale) Eustacia Vye, the beautiful protagonist, seems more complex and human than Tess Durbyfield or Jude or just about any character from previous Hardy works --- she is instantly recognizable to any woman who is or has been trapped in a small town and dreams of glamour and a dazzling world beyond the horizon. She is, like most real people, somewhere in the middle of good and evil, with occasional dalliances at the extremes. Naturally, it is with her dalliances at the more sinister extremes that set the tragedy wheels a rolli'n.
Most of the plot revolves around her machinations to leave Egdon Heath behind for the city, and she spends her days wandering the moors and dreaming of city life and charming men (well really only one) who can give her the chance to escape.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every good character in fiction deserves a name as singularly memorable as Eustacia Vye, and a setting as breathtakingly depicted as Egdon Heath. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bill Slocum
I've liked most of Thomas Hardy's other books, but the plot of this one seemed particularly contrived, and the book didn't have his usual beautiful settings to carry any of the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by R. Whitaker
One of my most favorite books in the world! I've read it several times and love it. Not an easy read and some might want to keep a dictionary handy. Read morePublished 11 months ago by G. Krivanek
The characters are well developed and interesting. One does care about them, but the situations in which they are placed are somewhat far-fetched.Published 12 months ago by George Kolombatovich
This book transported me to another time--another world. The use of language is amazing. Those looking for a plot with today's adventure/thriller themes probably won't like this... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Bette