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The Return of the Native Audible – Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 13 hours
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Iambik Audio Inc
  • Audible.com Release Date: December 27, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006QHZ42K

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are two and a half sets of lovers in Thomas Hardy's "The Return of the Native," which, if your math is correct and your idea of the number of lovers in a set concurs with mine, makes five people. Romance, deceit, misunderstanding, and misfortune affect their destinies, and those to whom the novel is cruelest come to tragic ends because they refuse to forgive themselves or others for mistakes.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Egdon Heath is the wild and hostile environment in which Hardy's tale of love and loss takes place. The setting of the novel is inescapable and its influence so strong that the heath is almost a character in itself. The action of the novel focusses around three men and three women; Clym Yeobright, Diggory Venn and Damon Wildeve and Mrs Yeobright (Clym's mother), her niece Thomasin whom she has adopted and Eustacia Vye. The other charcters in the novel are the heath people who form a greek chorus to the novel and are occasionally used as instigators of the action. The main theme of the novel is doomed love and the way in which the characters are unable to escape their destiny. It is also interesting to note that the ending to the novel was not the one Hardy inteneded, he had intended to end it after the scene by Shadwater weir. However, his publishers demanded a more positive ending and one which I feel slightly undermines the power of the novel. Most editions have a footnote at the point where Hardy had intended to finish, allowing readers to choose which ever ending they prefer.
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...
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Format: Paperback
I didn't pay attention to much in high school but this book, and the tools by which to grasp it, has stayed with me through a lifetime. The heath and the people who were more of it than of the world, has remained vivid and powerfully romantic to keep me coming back to Hardy and other English authors of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The result has been part of the greatest joys in a life of reading.
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.
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Format: Paperback
"Just a small town girl, livi'n in a lonely world. She took the midnight train goi'n anywhere..."
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.
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