Virginia Woolf once called Thomas Hardy "the greatest tragic writer among English novelists". His atmospheric novels were often considered shocking upon their publication. In this classic, Clym Yeobright returns to Egdon Heath from Paris, intending to settle down and improve the lives of his townspeople. But the alluring and mysterious Eustacia Vye has other plans. Like so many of Hardy’s masterpieces, The Return of the Native is both a rich character study and a critical examination of Victorian society.
Hardy's classic unfolds slowly and atmospherically, guided inexorably toward its conclusion by a master storyteller. Narrator Patrick Tull would seem to be a great choice, given his gravelly British accent and his excellent character voices. His effort falls short, though, because he speaks too quickly and in too low a register for listeners to understand him. His focus is on being conversational and with getting the accents right, rather than diction.
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