Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Help! I am not liking The Return of the Native.

Maybe it is my bad attitude, or I just need encouragement.  I am on chapter three of part one of The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, and I have put the book down dozens of times over the last several days with the intent to avoid reading it.  I am just not getting into it at all.

Has anyone else read this book?  If so, what is your opinion of it?  Is it worth continuing on?  Or has anyone else had a problem with it?




9 comments:

  1. Return of the Native was compulsory reading for me in college. But I could never go past chapter 4 or 5 no matter how hard I tried. I hated it! So, yep...I had the same problem as you do now. Personally, I'd intended never touching it again. The only other two Hardys I've read I have loved -- The Mayor of Casterbridge and Far from the Madding Crowd.

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    1. So would you say that Return of the Native is written in a different style than the other two titles you enjoyed?

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  2. Uh oh...this book is on my list too. But I've read a review in GR that this was like Shakespearean tragedy in the form of novel? And it said Hardy started using beautiful language here. So, what have you found so far, Ruth? Is it the story?

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    1. At first I felt like I was reading a 1984 description of some fictional place, but I love 1984. It does have the beautiful language appeal. But mostly what is bothering me is that I don't understand what is happening. Like I said: maybe I am having a bad attitude, so I am not focusing. I don't know.

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    2. I'm having the same trouble. I've tried dipping my toes into the heath and I keep getting confused in the first chapter about whether Hardy's talking about a person or place... so I go back and reread and then think, "Ah, yes. a place." But it doesn't last long and before I know it, I'm confused again.

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  3. I think read somewhere that Thomas Hardy really wanted to write poetry, but writing novels paid the bills. I haven't picked my copy up yet, but I wonder -- would it help to read it like poetry?

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    1. It definitely is poetical in that it is extremely descriptive, and poetry is my worst genre. So even if it is in the slightest bit, I may not be ready for this right now. I'm really struggling with enjoying it even a little.

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  4. Fanda's mention of Shakespearean tragedy is right on the money. The novel was originally supposed to be written in five books, each corresponding to an act in tragic drama. Ultimately he gave in to popular taste and added as sixth book with a somewhat peculiar and out of place happy ending.

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    1. So does that mean it was published as a serial? I haven't read at all about the book --not wanting to spoil the story at all, but poetry and Shakespearean tragedy have me a little worried.

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