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The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
By: (1840-1928)

Like all of Hardy’s work, The Return of the Native (1878) is passionate and controversial, with themes and sympathies beyond what a good Victorian would ever admit. A modern and honest novel of chance and choice, faith and infidelities, this dark story asks what is free will and what is fate? What is the true nature of nature, and how do we fit together? Can we fit together?

A tragedy set in the barren land of Edgon Heath. Our heroine, Eustacia, is proud, passionate, cruel, fickle, avaricious, and desperate. She burns every life she touches, never able to find the mad love and exotic world she dreams of. Our supposed hero, Clym, is modest, steady, plain, moral, and dutiful. He is satisfied returning from Paris to the simple comfort of home.

When they come together, the Heath will come apart.

Originally released as five books, in classic tragic form, a sixth, tacking on a ‘happy ending’, was added by editor and public pressure.

First Page:

THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE

by Thomas Hardy

PREFACE

The date at which the following events are assumed to have occurred may be set down as between 1840 and 1850, when the old watering place herein called "Budmouth" still retained sufficient afterglow from its Georgian gaiety and prestige to lend it an absorbing attractiveness to the romantic and imaginative soul of a lonely dweller inland.

Under the general name of "Egdon Heath," which has been given to the sombre scene of the story, are united or typified heaths of various real names, to the number of at least a dozen; these being virtually one in character and aspect, though their original unity, or partial unity, is now somewhat disguised by intrusive strips and slices brought under the plough with varying degrees of success, or planted to woodland.

It is pleasant to dream that some spot in the extensive tract whose southwestern quarter is here described, may be the heath of that traditionary King of Wessex Lear.

July, 1895.

"To sorrow I bade good morrow, And thought to leave her far away behind; But cheerly, cheerly, She loves me dearly; She is so constant to me, and so kind... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 4 Stars - 10 reviews)

Reviewer: - February 28, 2014
Enjoyed the story. The reading gets better as you get in to the book.
Reviewer: - February 5, 2014
Subject: Awful, simply awful
I'm a Thomas Hardy fan and read and re-read most of his books but with this narration I can not understand & withstand it.
Reviewer: - November 22, 2013
Subject: Return of the Native
Is the first reader for real? Surely she's not! Maybe she's making a joke of some kind?
Reviewer: - October 14, 2013
Subject: Narrator
I could not understand this book because of the narrator
Reviewer: - September 22, 2013
Subject: Return of the Native
The first reader's mispronunciations and false cadences suggest she has no understanding of the book!
Reviewer: - July 25, 2013
The reader at the beginning is very annoying. I stopped listening to it because of her voice.
Reviewer: - July 6, 2013
Subject: Review
I very much enjoyed this book.
Reviewer: - April 12, 2013
like others have said, first reader is SO off-putting but others are great.
Reviewer: - March 28, 2013
I loved the book! Wonderful and very sad story and wonderful again.
Reviewer: - March 27, 2013
The woman reader from the first and the last needs not to read books out loud.


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