“One of Hardy's best novels. The novels parents his views of love and marriage.The scene is the somber Egdon Heath, typical of a country near Warchem in Dorset. Damon Wildere, engineer turned publican after playing fast and loose with two women by whom he is loved-the gentle, unselfish Thomasin Yeobright, and the selfish, capricious Eustacia Vye, marries the former in spite of the latter: While Thomasin rejects her humble adorer, the reddleman Diggory Venn. Her cousin Clym Yeoright , a diamond merchant in Paris disgusted with the vanity and uselessness of his occupation, returns to Egdon with the intention of becoming a school master in his native country. He falls in love with Eustacia and she in brief infatuation marries him, in the hope of inducing him to return to Paris. His sight fails and he becomes a furze-cutter on the heath, to Eustacia’s despair. She is the cause of estrangement between Clym and his mother, and unintentionally of her death. This and the discovery that Eustacia’s relations with Wildeve, have not cased ,led to a violent scene between husband and wife, and untimely t Eustacia’s flight with Wildeve,,I the course of which both are drowned. Clym, attributing to some responsibility for the death of his mother and wife becomes an itinerant preacher. Thomsain however, marries Doggry Venn.”Sankar wrote this review Tuesday, November 16, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Only up to page 120, but savouring every word in Hardy's Wessex.... great narrative, characters and very descriptive... this is what great film and television was, should be, and will be once more!!! Buried treasure!!”Thom J wrote this review Tuesday, November 9, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I could hardly breathe while reading this novel. Written in 1878, this book is filled with drama and angst. I felt as though I were on a roller coaster, up one minute, down the next and at the end of the day, a happy ending!”Jerseygirl / Dame Constance (Oodles) Oxford-Whapdoodle, D.C., B.C., D.C.A. wrote this review Saturday, January 19, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Worth reading!”Carol G wrote this review Monday, August 16, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“There is no greater master of (patoral) setting as Hardy. He has no equal.”Ebere N wrote this review Thursday, August 12, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Every once in a great while you read a novel that just knocks you back onto your keister. Well, for me, this was just one of those novels. I finished reading Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native several days ago, and it made such an impression upon me that I turned to page one, and began it all over again! The first impression? Wow! Upon finishing it for the second time? I concur with the first impression.
This is the fourth in Hardy's series of eight 'Wessex' novels, all being set in his native countryside of southwestern England. Originally, The Return of the Native was serialized in twelve monthly installments in Belgravia magazine in 1878. Interestingly, Belgravia magazine was edited by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (of Lady Audley's Secret fame) and her husband, John Maxwell.
The Return of the Native takes place over the course of a year and one-day, and the setting of the novel is entirely on the fictional Egdon Heath of Hardy's Wessex. In fact, Egdon Heath with its rolling hills and dense warrens of scrubby, spiny, and brown furze should absolutely be considered one of the main characters listed in the novel's Dramatis Personae.
The novel, as Hardy originally intended and envisioned, is a tragedy in five parts; however, he was persuaded by the editors, for serialization purposes, to add a final sixth book (Aftercourses). Hardy even includes a disclaimer at the start of this sixth book suggesting that the reader choose the ending for the novel that he or she deems appropriate. Hardy was not a fan of adding the sixth book to the novel.
The first fifty pages, or so, of the novel feels like something out of the Britain of the Druids. Hardy's description of the Egdon Heath, the late fall weather, and the magical, almost pagan, customs of the people surrounding their bonfires next to the ancient Celtic barrows on the night of November Fifth was simply spell-binding. And it just gets better!
Early on we are introduced to the novel's primary protagonists. There's the seemingly-Mephistophelean Diggory Venn, the Reddleman, covered in red, from head-to-toe in the ochre he uses to mark the flocks of sheep; the beautiful and good-hearted Thomasin Yeobright; the 'failed' engineer, now inn-owner, Damon Wildeve; the solid and steady matron of the heath, Mrs. Yeobright; the 'Queen of Night,' the darkly beautiful 'wayward and erring heroine,' Eustacia Vye ("to be loved to madness, was her great desire"); and, finally, the 'Native,' who has returned to the heath, the only child of Mrs. Yeobright, Clym Yeobright. These six characters are locked together in a tale of passion, drama, pathos, and tragedy where, in typical Hardyian fashion, only Fate, Chance, and Irony exert any control whatsoever. Like a moth is drawn to a flame, the reader is inexorably drawn into the tale, and recognizes with a growing horror that a full release can only be attained through reaching and experiencing the novel's shocking climax.
The novel contains more than a superficial nod to the great choric scenes of the Greek Tragedies, and includes the gatherings of commoners like many of Shakespeare's dramas. Hardy's characters' dialog is spare and clipped, but each word is chosen carefully and packs an emotional wallop. The descriptions of the environment, the role of the humans in it, and the interactions between the characters reminds me of the great modern American novelist, Cormac McCarthy. The Return of the Native is Hardy's Naturalism at its finest; and becomes an almost poetic homage to the interaction of the human species with one another as well as with the Earth Mother herself.
Hardy chose an ode from Keats's epic Endymion as an epigraph to lead off the novel. Nothing could describe this novel better--
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.
I would deceive her,
And so leave her,
But ah! she is so constant and so kind."
(Endymion, Book IV, 1817)”
“travels, bought on my return”Karen wrote this review Thursday, May 27, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Advanced Higher English set text.”wilde_hewlett wrote this review Monday, May 10, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“ hardy continues his essential fatalistic tone in this novel…all the happenings does seem a little bit forced but still the character of Eustacia remains unforgettable…with a streak of negative and passionate above everything else…she is admirably modern..”moulee g wrote this review Sunday, May 9, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No