In The Return of the Native there is a strong conflict between nature or fate, represented by Egdon Heath, and human nature, represented by Hardy's true-to-life characters. This is a novel that perfectly epitomizes Thomas Hardy's unique and melancholy genius.
© and (P)1995 Blackstone Audio Inc.
Hardy is unmatched at making the inevitable, unalterable disposition of our lives richer and more tolerable. Again, as in most of his other novels, we immediately meet a heroine/hero so flawed we know exactly where she will go and Hardy makes us want to go with her. Eustacia Vye may be Hardy's most transparent tortured soul, as passionate as she is headstrong, and he builds another Wessex community-this time the bleak Egden Heath-to frame her spellbinding, sad life.
Men love Eustacia and Eustacia loves what men can give her: excitement, escape, and embodiment of her dreams. She, of course, is of another world, a world definately not Egden Heath, and those who love her are, for a time, lost. Hardy makes her story and the story of Egden Heath rich in character, locale and reflection on how we get where we are meant to go...R3W
"Disappointment and disaster..."
This was disappointing. What a selection of aimless and flat characters, and such a hopelessly tiresome plot! Even Hardy?s magical descriptions of the scenery and his insights into the human condition (examples of which lightly pepper the text) can?t rescue this work. May?s voice and narration were simply disastrous?the final nail in a wretched coffin.
"An old friend....welcome back"
Thomas Hardy's voice is unmistakeable and welcome from the first description of Egdon Heath, through the introduction of characters and the plotting - pitting man and mankind against the elements of dark and light against the backdrop of the Earth. It's many years since I read any Hardy and, having loved all of the standards and completed his various volumes of poems, the chance to listen to Return of the Native in its unabridged form was a welcome pleasure.
There is a steady drip-drip of Hardy related material and interest. A recent biography with a reappraisal of the females in his life - and Gemma Arterton about to become Tess Of The D'Urbervilles capturing the hearts of a new generation in the Autumn TV schedules as Polanski's Nastassja Kinski did for me in my late teenage years.. What is the constant, however, is the evocation of Wessex fixed in the heart and in time. A relaxing and wonderful place to visit and a welcome alternative when ploughing between the North East and North West of England in the car.
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