one of my favourites.... Hardy does not disappoint
An eloquent writer narrating a contrived plot with standard 19th century themes of class, love and duty. Quite melodramatic and an old fashioned style. Read it if you are interested.
"The plot of 'The Return of the Native' is much like a diminuitive marionette; it carries a tragedy altogether too grand in scale for its own dimensions; but its power in the book comes from the hand that pulls th strings -- the omnipotent hand of Fate."
That was the opening line of an esay that I wrote many years ago in high school after reading the book. And despite all that I have read and learned and experienced since, I can hardly think of a better way to summarize Hardy's great work, now that I've read through it again, my opinion hasn't changed. A great novel in any age.
Extensive notes and glossary of colloquialisms help the reader comprehend certain passages.
There were too many fortuitous plot twists (e.g., the relatives who all died leaving an 11000 pound fortune) that strained the credulity of the reader.
Thematically though, a great book.
This is a bit of a muddle, fueled by over-the-top Victorian melodrama that hasn't aged well. Infidelity and constancy play out their themes on a bleak English moor. The most rewarding aspect of the novel is the evocative setting, haunting and dismal.
A writer like no other.I recommend a large number of books under your belt before you read Hardy. But to read Hardy is a must for serious readers.
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