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The Return of the Native

Thomas Hardy

Book Overview: 

Like all of Hardy’s work, The Return of the Native 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.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The one point that was forbidding about this reddleman was his colour. Freed from that he would have been as agreeable a specimen of rustic manhood as one would often see. A keen observer might have been inclined to think—which was, indeed, partly the truth—that he had relinquished his proper station in life for want of interest in it. Moreover, after looking at him one would have hazarded the guess that good nature, and an acuteness as extreme as it could be without verging on craft, formed the framework of his character.

While he darned the stocking his face became rigid with thought. Softer expressions followed this, and then again recurred the tender sadness which had sat upon him during his drive along the highway that afternoon. Presently his needle stopped. He laid down the stocking, arose from his seat, and took a leathern pouch from a hook in the corner of the van. This contained among other articles a brown-paper packet, which, to judge f. . . Read More

Community Reviews

4.5 stars

This is a story about misunderstanding, not getting the facts straight and the dangers of presumptuousness. Here romance rings hollow and family is a source of strife rather than security.

Although the plot borders on Lifetime channel fare and the dialogue can sometimes be overwrought, it’s

”I read a lot of classical books like The Return of the Native and all, and I like them,” says Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. “I like that Eustacia Vye.”

Catherine Zeta Jones as Eustacia Vye

Eustacia Vye is a young maid filled with longing for the city of Paris, for new experiences,fr

To understand how radical Thomas Hardy is, we could start with how radical the rest of his century wasn't. For most of the 1800s, novels were basically maiden aunts yelling at you about your skirt length. They had a job: they were to demonstrate proper behavior. Their good characters were rewarded;

Book Review

5 out of 5 stars to The Return of the Native, a novel written by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1878 and subsequently re-issued a few times with additional revisions. It's rare for me to give out a full 5 stars, but this book will always hold an extreme and special place in

I have spent the last thirty five years convinced that I do not like Thomas Hardy. I know how it happened. Reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles when I was in high school and again at university made a lasting - and a negative - impression on me. Admittedly, I went on to read Jude the Obscure and Far fr

Can you go home again? Thomas Hardy asks that simple question in his magnificent novel, The Return of the Native...written in 1878...set in a vast sparsely populated land in rural England called Edgon Heath. Rolling hills, the quiet grasslands and small but valuable shrubs, the furze bush .. empty e

"Harsh Heath" Hardy -- Best in Nature as Supporting Character

In this 1878 novel, Hardy heaves readers right into the gloomy Egdon Heath, in southern England, to witness the inception of coming tragedies involving the heath's inhabitants. Hardy did not draw his Egdon Heath as darkly as the Bronte sis

839. Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy

The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the magazine Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878.

The novel takes place enti

There used to be a lot more words in the world. Now we're all about short, blunt sentences. So obvious. So boring.

“Hurt so good
Come on baby, make it hurt so good”
- John Mellencamp

WUT? Well, reading Thomas Hardy novels always poses this kind of challenge. They hurt, and yet I keep coming back to him because they are indeed good and this kind of hurt is like a good exercise for your EQ. In term of language, I do

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