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Extended Audio Sample The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,719 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thomas Hardy Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Betsy | 2/20/2014

    " The first six chapters are rough, but it gets better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Em | 2/20/2014

    " I thought it would be nice to re-read all the classics I had to read for AP English, so I started with this one since I remembered liking it in high school. How different it is to read things now,alone, instead of with a whole class and with the fear of Mrs. Hazen's test coming up in my mind. I almost didn't make it through the book simply because i couldn't get through the first chapter. I didn't really care to read a whole chapter about the surrounding countryside, but once characters were introduced it was easier. I enjoyed the different characters in the book, especially Clym and how willing he was to make the best of anything. It was quite a tragic book, and since most of the ones I've been reading have been happily-ever-after type books, it was hard for me to accept the ending. The more I thought about it after, the more I enjoyed it. It was intersting to read about how different marriage and honor were back then, than now. All in all, I enjoyed it a little less than in high school, but still enjoyed it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Joanie | 2/17/2014

    " I found this book disappointing. I love Hardy's down to earth style of writing, and I expected more from the book. The drama over the marriage license mistake; the awful consequence of Eustacia's failure to answer the door; the overblown concern about Clym's choice of wife: These problems all seemed tempest in a teapot to me. And without meaningful conflicts, there just wasn't enough to support the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Vicki | 2/17/2014

    " This was a wonderful book. The descriptions were lyrical and breathtaking, and the characters were well-developed. Alan Rickman is a great narrator. "

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