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Return of the Native
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Return of the Native

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  18,140 ratings  ·  723 reviews
Hardy was part of the English naturalist movement. He wrote short stories, novels and poetry. The story begins on Guy Fawkes Night with the people of Heath lighting bonfires in the dark night. A man stained red from his work marking sheep picks up a young woman. The themes in this novel are sexual politics, desire, societal demands and an elicit affair. Although these are...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 8th 2007 by Book Jungle (first published 1878)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”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.”

EustaciaVye_zpsfe68289c
Catherine Zeta Jones as Eustacia Vye

Eustacia Vye is a young maid filled with longing for the city of Paris, for new experiences,fresh sights, sounds that have never rang her ears before, and a lover to fill her heart with dewy-eyed passion. She lives on the moors of Wessex in the midst of a small collection of dwellings called Egdo...more
Paul
Sep 02, 2009 Paul marked it as assorted-rants-about-stuff  ·  review of another edition
From one of Monty Python's albums:

Commentator: Hello, and welcome to Dorchester, where a very good crowd has turned out to watch local boy Thomas Hardy write his new novel "The Return Of The Native", on this very pleasant July morning. This will be his eleventh novel and the fifth of the very popular Wessex novels, and here he comes! Here comes Hardy, walking out towards his desk. He looks confident, he looks relaxed, very much the man in form, as he acknowledges this very good natured bank holi...more
Kim

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 from the Madding Crowd, also while I was at university, and quite liked both novels. Notwithstanding this, my dislike of Tess overshadowed whatever appreciation for Hardy's work I might otherwise have d...more
Frank
I kept falling asleep at the beginning of this book. Finally I gave up. I mentioned to my friend Rich that I'd stalled out, and he quoted his high school English teacher, whose words predicted Rich's own experience of the novel: "For the first fifty pages, we would think Return of the N the worst book we had ever read and after that it would seem the best book we had ever read." So I pressed on, and sure enough, around page fifty the book grabbed me and didn't let go till I finished.

One of the...more
J
There used to be a lot more words in the world. Now we're all about short, blunt sentences. So obvious. So boring.
Christopher H.
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 nati...more
Sundry
Good medicine. I hated this book when I had to read it in high school. Maybe because I’d assumed from the title that it was going to be about American Indians. (In my defense, I’d been forced to read The Last of the Mohicans the previous year, and may have thought high school literature was all about the aboriginals.) Maybe because the entire first chapter is a description of Egdon Heath; one that still elicited a groan from me when I started listening to the audiobook a few weeks ago.

This is th...more
Jeff
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 Hardy’s descriptive powers that also make this a great read. He describes the heath, the wind, fire light dancing on people’s faces, a storm, an eclipse, all revealing the power and beauty of the Engl...more
Gary the Bookworm
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The hypnotic power of The Return of the Native can't be overstated. Everyone seems under some sort of spell. But the passions of the characters are secondary to the magnitude and majesty of the rugged heath they inhabit. Those who embrace their surroundings and give in to their circumstances may find some level of peace, but woe be to those who resist. The native in the title is Clym Yeobright, who returns to his mother's home, ominously named Blooms-End, after an extended absence. He wants to...more
James
I have enjoyed reading and rereading this novel since I was in my teens. In thinking about this I can only suggest that from the first reading I was impressed with Hardy's ability to create a complete believable setting where the characters interacted not just with one another but with the world in which they lived. That world was a rural Victorian one, but it resonated with my own somewhat rural experience even though it occurred more than one hundred years earlier.
What Thomas Hardy created wa...more
Laura
Page 86:
Such views of life were to some extent the natural begettings of her situation upon her nature. To dwell on a heath without studying its meanings was like wedding a foreigner without learning his tongue. The subtle beauties of the heath were lost to Eustacia; she only caught its vapours. An environment which would have made a contented woman a poet, a suffering woman a devotee, a pious woman a psalmist, even a giddy woman thoughtful, made a rebellious woman saturnine.

To have lost the god...more
Jen Padgett Bohle
"Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world. She took the midnight train goin' anywhere..."
Yep, Journey and Thomas Hardy DO have something in common: They both understand a woman's intense yearnings for something beyond small town life.

The best advice I can give to any would-be readers of Return of the Native is to stay with this tale; it gets better and better. In all honesty, one could probably skip the first 3 chapters (roughly 40 pages) and not miss much . I love Hardy's imagery and d...more
Erik Graff
Aug 27, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hardy fans
Recommended to Erik by: Mr. Silkowski
Shelves: literature
Return of the Native was assigned reading in a high school English class. It was not a particularly good choice. I found it rather tedious and, so, being required to write a paper about it, decided to spice things up a bit.

Throughout the novel there is much description of the environs. Part of the atmospheric background, mentioned frequently, are heathcropping horses. In order to get through the book I recorded every mention of such heathcroppers and wrote a revisionist analysis of its text.

My t...more
julieta
I have to confess that I started reading Thomas Hardy because I found one of his books (Jude the Obscure) in a used bookstore in Mexico city, sold very cheaply. I am not one to let a cheap book pass, especially if it has a nice old look to it, so I went for it. I am happy I did. Since then I have always enjoyed his tragedies. Because, they are, tragedies.
But for some reason I find that if he can make such tragedies out of so few elements, and put them together in such a gripping way, well, he’s...more
rachel
Now that I'm an all-around happier person than I was when I read the bulk of the Hardy that I have read (Jude, Tess, Far From the Madding Crowd, in addition to this), I'm terrified to go back and re-read the others. Because listening to this book the second time around, all I could think was, "Man, if I had the way with words that Thomas Hardy had, I wouldn't use it for quite this much gloom." But that gloom is pretty much the essence of Hardy. This makes me worry that maybe I don't love Hardy n...more
Erin
Crushed by Things Beyond Control: A Review of The Return of the Native
Poor Thomas Hardy. He was pursued by a fate almost as cruel as that which crushes his characters. As a boy he was too well educated to pursue a quiet life on the heath, when he grew up to his novels were too mercilessly condemned by Victorian moralists for him to live in peace as a writer. He turned exclusively to poetry (depending on your stance that can also be counted as tragedy) and his estranged wife died, and although h...more
El
Jun 21, 2008 El rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (191/1001)
Thomas Hardy knew the stuff which made good soap operas by modern standards: lots of intrigue, plenty of folks who just can't manage to keep it in their pants, a bundle of miscommunications and a setting as familiar as its own character on which all of the above to occur.

The native here is Clym Yeobright who falls in love with Eustacia Vye and abandons his aspirations much to his mother's (and, eventually, Eustacia's) chagrin. On the other side of the table there is Clym's sweet - if not just a...more
Faith Bradham
The entire time I read Return I could just see how badly everything could end, and having read other Hardy, I knew it would end that badly. However, my first thought on finishing this book was, "HARDY, YOU COULD HAVE MADE THIS MORE DEPRESSING!" Because, when I read Hardy, I'm expecting angst and emotion and purple and intense depression. While you will indeed get all 4 of those things with Return, you will not get enough of the last one. I wanted depression of the level of Tess and I did not get...more
Elaine
I am currently finishing an essay on this novel, and as such, writing a review is the last thing I want to do. My poor, poor fingers...

In short: Victorian soap opera with unexpectedly gorgeous language. Wish I could have spent more time with the text just to enjoy it - some incredible imagery, symbolism, allusion, etc, though ponderous at times. I find myself wondering whether it has a point beyond slightly rebellious social commentary, and for once (for me, ha) the language just really isn't e...more
David Sarkies
Aug 27, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody really
Recommended to David by: It wasn't recommended, it was forced onto me
Shelves: romance
A young man returns to his home
27 Aug 2014

This was the last book on the English I curriculum and while I am undecided as to whether I actually read it (namely because when you get to that end of the year the last books on the reading list tend to be the ones that get dumped in favour of study for the pending exams) I did have a tutor that would throw students out of the class if they had not read the novel, and he seemed to have a sixth sense in knowing whether they had read it or not (and whil...more
La pointe de la sauce
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Camille Tesch
I read 'Tess of the Durberville's' as a teenager and really liked it, but then saw a film version of 'Jude the Obscure' while I was in college. I have never seen anything so depressing, and decided that I had had enough Thomas Hardy induced depression.

I decided to give him another chance, as 'The Return of the Native' was my next novel to read from 'The Well-Educated Mind.' This novel felt like a Greek tragedy to me. Hardy has a way of setting up circumstances and playing his characters almost...more
Julie
Although this book is set in rural England in the 1800s, the story covers a universal theme of star crossed lovers who lives are doomed due to a few pivotal decisions. The heroine (or villain, depending on your outlook) of the story is Eustacia Vye, a dark haired beauty who longs to escape the rural life on the heath for adventure and culture in Paris or other large city. She is romantically involved with Damon Wildeve, the local inn keeper, but chooses to marry Clym Yeobright, a successful busi...more
Ali
The return of the native
As I have mentioned before, I along with some friends have undertaken a Hardy reading challenge. Thomas Hardy is one of my favourite authors – and I know many other people love his writing too.

As I have read all the Hardy novels before and nearly all the short stories this was a re-read for me although I had remembered surprisingly little about it. That for me was a bonus as it was almost like reading it for the first time – although things did start to come back to me a...more
☽ Moon Rose ☯
δ∝δ∝δ∝δ∝δ∝• EPICUREAN LOVE •∝δ∝δ∝δ∝δ∝δ

Born out of the intensest human desires are unbridled sensual passions that begrudgingly awaits physical gratification from the world without. A human dilemma that can cripple the soul to somnolence as sensuality overpowers spirituality from its true course. It ransacks the mind out of reason as the senses chase its pursuits of epicurean yearnings, surrendering body and soul to the ambition of bucolic longings.

The farther the distance to the object of desire...more
Suzanne
I didn't like this. The names, Clym, Thomasin, Eustacia, Yeobright, Wlldeve, etc. were weird, to say the least. These odd characters are not warm, not likeable, not even just dull. They live in a small town, but are forever sending each other letters. They die on their way to and from each other's homes, and I don't care.
Mrs. Yeobright is Victorian, and believes that Thomasin and Clym have made bad choices in their marriages. This is not a new concept. Get over it.
Clym may be a central character...more
Heather
This book really deserves 3.5 stars, because there is a lot of clever writing, lots of phrases that I underlined and read outloud to my husband. Thomas Hardy, he knows how to turn a phrase.

It's not 4 stars, though, because my heck the first 70 pages are a slog. It's a love song to the heath, which I supposed was a kind of moor, although I googled it to be sure. (There was actually quite a lot of googling I had to do, to understand what a "reddleman" is, and what a "furze-cutter" is, as both of t...more
Agostino Scafidi
Oh my God I hated this. Got to page 70 and said, "Enough already!"

Maybe I'm stupid? Maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance?

But... I read Dickens and loved it. De Sade and loved that too. Eugenie Grandet... check. So why didn't I love this one too? Oh my God how painfully this book is written! Would you believe me it took me almost to page 30 to realize the story took place in England?! (No I didn't read the book's description. I simply started reading it based solely on a recommendation.)

Ugh....more
Bethan
A strange and preternatural novel. 3.5/5, mostly for the vibe. The story is Shakespearean. Which on the downside can mean a bit unconvincing, and as with Hardy in general, I dislike the way he writes (just a personal thing) so I have to read fast so as not to be bored or repelled.

I won't go too much into the story but there are romantic tangles with the vaguely witch-like outsider Eustacia Vye in the middle of it all, with Edgon Heath a major setting that backdrops this and creates atmosphere.
Lobstergirl
Dec 02, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kal-el Coppola
Shelves: own, fiction
If you stripped out the characters, the plot, and the dialogue, leaving only the descriptions of Egdon Heath, this would still be worth reading. Hardy is a master of physical scene-setting and the heath is alive and pulsating.
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Thomas Hardy, OM, was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his facination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates char...more
More about Thomas Hardy...
Tess of the d'Urbervilles Far from the Madding Crowd  Jude the Obscure The Mayor of Casterbridge The Woodlanders

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“Why is it that a woman can see from a distance what a man cannot see close?” 182 likes
“Backlock, a poet blind from his birth, could describe visual objects with accuracy; Professor Sanderson, who was also blind, gave excellent lectures on color, and taught others the theory of ideas which they had and he had not. In the social sphere these gifted ones are mostly women; they can watch a world which they never saw, and estimate forces of which they have only heard. We call it intuition.” 62 likes
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