Like all of Hardy’s work, The Return of the Native (1878) is passionate and controversial, with themes and sympathies beyond what a good Victorian would ever admit. A modern and honest novel of chance and choice, faith and infidelities, this dark story asks what is free will and what is fate? What is the true nature of nature, and how do we fit together? Can we fit together?
A tragedy set in the barren land of Edgon Heath. Our heroine, Eustacia, is proud, passionate, cruel, fickle, avaricious, and desperate. She burns every life she touches, never able to find the mad love and exotic world she dreams of. Our supposed hero, Clym, is modest, steady, plain, moral, and dutiful. He is satisfied returning from Paris to the simple comfort of home.