Summary

One of Thomas Hardy's classic statements about modern love, courtship, and marriage, The Return of the Native is set in the pastoral village of Egdon Heath. The fiery Eustacia Vye, wishing only for passionate love, believes that her escape from Egdon lies in her marriage to Clym Yeobright, the returning "native", home from Paris and discontented with his work there. Clym wishes to remain in Egdon, however - a desire that sets him in opposition to his wife and brings them both to despair. Surrounding them are Clym's mother, who is strongly opposed to his marriage; Damon Wildeve, who is in love with Eustacia but married to Clym's cousin Thomasin; and the oddly ambiguous observer Diggory Venn, whose frustrated love for Thomasin turns him into either a guardian angel or a jealous manipulator - or perhaps both.
This stew of curdled love and conflicting emotions can only boil over into tragedy, and the book's darkly ironic ending marks it as both a classically Victorian novel and a forerunner of the modernist fiction that followed it.
Public Domain (P)2010 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ruth on 03-12-17

Masterfully Performed

A half sad and nearly 'half' glad story was being unfolded, here and there, up and down, touching and withdrawing...Once again Simon Vance has given his master blessing. It is almost OK to look beyond the faults of the characters. From time to time, it's comforting to know the present of the 'goodness', presented by and manifested through a reddleman. It is a 'real' story worth sharing.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By KP on 10-04-13

How Sweet the Sound

This book is an excellent example of how wonderful a listening experience can be when a fantastic writer combines with a gifted narrator. Thomas Hardy writes in a way that makes mundane details seem enthralling. While the story is entertaining enough, on its own it wouldn't compel four stars; it's the writing that does the trick. Well worth a listen.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Bonny on 21-01-16

Solid Thomas Hardy

Continuing my journey through Thomas Hardy's works . . . I thoroughly enjoyed The Return of the Native as narrated by Simon Vance. I found Far From The Madding Crowd and The Mayor of Casterbridge more compelling and generally more interesting, but this is a lovely listen with an excellent climax. Vance does his usual excellent job; the characters are well-voiced and differentiated. I could have lived without the voice for Grandfer Cantle (if he sang one more song I was going to have to shoot him), but thankfully he plays a very minor part. I found the character of Diggory Venn, with whom we begin the story, to be complex and fascinating.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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