Tuesday, July 7, 2009

100 Greatest Books #85 - The Return of the Native

Next up on my tour of the 100 Greatest Books of all time is The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. You can find this book on the Sybervision list.

Thomas Hardy is able to paint a picture with his novels. When you read them you can be sure to smell the sweet fragrance of a passing flower or hear children playing on a distant hill. His ability to paint such a picture is almost unmatched. The Return of the Native flowed smoothly from the beginning picture he painted through much of the end. It was also a very easy read, once you got passed the little bit of the dated language. And I enjoyed it for the most part. The ending left much to be desired for. Not to spoil anything but the deaths that are depicted are pretty pathetic. One I still don't understand if it was by accident or if it was suicide (which might have been the intent of the author). He even included a footnote to state that the ending he originally intended was changed due to critical review. Also his depiction of women was pretty much atrocious. I have never met such meek women in my life, and most of those I know would never stand to be placed in similar circumstances as that. Now it may be a cultural thing but I have read many works by women of the time that do not portray women as such so I have to assume it is Hardy's inability to understand the female sex (not that I have any real understanding but I do not pretend to). So all in all an enjoyable read but not one I would include in the 100 greatest of all time.

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