Return of the Native
Thomas Hardy

Book cover image

Narrated By: Wanda McCaddon

Duration: 14 hours and 3 minutes

What to expect

In the barren moor of Egdon Heath, a wild tract of country in the southwest of England, one native yearns to escape to city life while another has just returned from that life, unimpressed.

Clym Yeobright, a former diamond merchant in Paris, returns home to become a schoolmaster in Egdon, where he falls passionately in love with the sensuous, free-spirited Eustacia Vye. Infatuated with his seeming glamour, she marries him in hopes of greater adventure—but when her hopes are disappointed, she rekindles an affair with Clym's reckless cousin, Damon.

Injured by forces beyond their control, Hardy's characters struggle vainly in the net of destiny.In the end, only the face of the lonely heath remains untouched by fate. This masterpiece of tragic passion perfectly epitomizes the author's melancholy genius.

Genre

Classic fiction, Fiction: general and literary, Fiction: general and literary

Listen to a sample

“This is the quality Hardy shares with the great writers…This setting behind the small action the terrific action of unfathomed nature.”

D. H. Lawrence

“Into the landscape he begins to weave human figures. They are very much alive; have faults and passions, virtues and vices, good luck and tragic mishaps…Hardy arrives at last at the end of his novel…having produced a most charming, original sketch of the lives of quiet people in one nook of England.”

New York Times

The Return of the Native is the most artistically perfect of [Hardy’] novels to date...his style has gained in power and clarity.”

Graphic (London), 1878

The Return of the Native is one of the most remarkable books of the last twenty years.”