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Publisher's Summary

In the remote wildness of Egdon Heath, the crossed love affairs and marriages of a small group of people are played out against the background of nature’s beauty and indifference to mankind. Through a series of vivid incidents and encounters, The Return of the Native moves in a relentless drive towards tragedy, as the plans and dreams of the lovers miscarry, defeated by chance, or destiny or self-deception. In their unhappy stories, Hardy gives us a powerful dramatization of his bleak philosophy, his belief in man’s helplessness before the malevolence of the universe.

Public Domain (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about The Return of the Native

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Thomas Hardy

One of his best novels very well performed being that the dialogue was in dialect and idiom of that location and time. This one of the best audible performances I have heard. It brought out the texture of the story thoroughly, and with the dialogue, the authenticity of the characters. This is a classic Hardy novel, definitely a plot of that period.

2 people found this helpful

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One of the most perfect books ever written

A true classic and work of genius with a masterfully structured plot, rich and evocative descriptions of nature, and keen insights into human psychology, all beautifully narrated. One of the best books I have ever read.

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Dissatisfaction with the Poorly done Narration

The narration is fine until the clumsy attempts to emulate the characters accents. Then the stream of imagery is destroyed. Then the novel's beauty is ruined. It is sad when a classic is usurped by the determination of a narration ...

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  • Clare
  • 10-14-16

The best of Hardy - magical!

Absolutely love this book, incredible characters and wonderful language. I cried more than once! Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • S. Bowman
  • 10-07-16

Hardy with a not-so-depressing ending

If you can wade yourself in through the first hour or two then I guarantee you will become engaged. If you are familiar with Victorian writing you will know what you are getting into. If you are unfamiliar with Victorian writing, this story is character driven with a bit of drama, tragedy and mercy pulling the story along.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David Bisset
  • 05-17-20

Good narration for Hardy classic

Nicholas Rowe narrates with great professionalism. He deals well with the challenging Wessex accent. His voice is clear and pleasant, and he copes with a wide emotional range.
The book itself is a classic which occupies a high place in the Hardy canon.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Arthur O'Pod
  • 03-23-17

Thoroughly engrossing after a slow start

Where does The Return of the Native rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Not one of Hardy's most well known (or often dramatised) works, this is a bit of a slow burn but becomes fully absorbing. The star character is really the heath itself which is gradually brought to life through description and the parochial lives of its inhabitants. The plot, apparently rather simplistic at first, develops through a series of misunderstandings and misadventures to an end both tragic and stoical. Recommended.
The narration is nicely measured to the pace of the book.

1 person found this helpful