Eustacia Vye longs to escape from Egdon Heath, but the man she chooses to save her longs to stay. Out of their struggle, the unfulfilled passion of his heroine, and the daily rhythms of late-nineteenth-century rural life, Hardy builds a drama fully worthy of the magnificent stage on which he places it.
The Return of the Native is dominated by the brooding presence of Egdon Heath, located in Thomas Hardy’s imaginary Wessex, and in no other book did Hardy’s extraordinary feeling for landscape blend so perfectly with his austere, stoic vision of human fate.
Once more he treats his favorite theme of the mismatched couple with masterly pathos and understatement.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
“Most of Hardy’s novels, and particularly the early ones, have a Shakespearean power of creating a unique world and climate of being . . . The Return of the Native is . . . thoughtful, valedictory, poetic, tinged with the somberness of an uncertainty which seems to well up from the depths of the author’s own subconscious . . . Hardy’s sense of the tragic life of human beings, mere small fragments of consciousness in a vast uncaring universe, comes directly from his own youthful awareness of the place and circumstances described in the novel.” –from the Introduction by John Bayley