Virginia Woolf once called Thomas Hardy "the greatest tragic writer among English novelists". His atmospheric novels were often considered shocking upon their publication. In this classic, Clym Yeobright returns to Egdon Heath from Paris, intending to settle down and improve the lives of his townspeople. But the alluring and mysterious Eustacia Vye has other plans. Like so many of Hardy’s masterpieces, The Return of the Native is both a rich character study and a critical examination of Victorian society.
Hardy's classic unfolds slowly and atmospherically, guided inexorably toward its conclusion by a master storyteller. Narrator Patrick Tull would seem to be a great choice, given his gravelly British accent and his excellent character voices. His effort falls short, though, because he speaks too quickly and in too low a register for listeners to understand him. His focus is on being conversational and with getting the accents right, rather than diction.
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I would. I love Patrick Tull's voice, and for some reason the density of Hardy translates really well to audio (especially with such a gifted narrator). I think I appreciate Hardy's long descriptions of setting much more than I would when reading, given that our modern tastes are a little more sparing.
The forehead slapping decisions of the two sets of couples. And when the young boy is gambling.
I have listened to his version of Dickens' Hard Times, which is why I bought this edition. I love, love, love his voice. He has such skill with women, especially. Dickens has a wider variety of characters than Hardy, so Dickens was, in that respect, more fun. But man oh man, when Eustacia is lamenting her scourging, I really felt like I was listening to *her* and not Tull at all.
When the Reddleman wins back the guineas. And when Eustacia hears the "frog" on the second 5th of November.
I think that classics like this one are really done a wonderful service with such careful and artful narration. Even as a literature lover, I simply don't have the time to sit down and really immerse myself in a book like this, but when I enjoy it this way, I get to savor it while doing all sorts of other things.