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I could listen to Alan Rickman read the blurb off a tin of paint, but he is wonderful reading this, and the story itself is a gem of plotting and pathos to rival any moden storyline, and the touches of humour are typical Hardy. As soon as I'd finished it, I listened to it again.
As ever Thomas Hardy uses the English language with beauty and restraint. Alan Rickman reads well, with confidence and within the limits of characterisation.
Surprisingly the end of the story did not leave me feeling that fate was bound to leave everyone in complete desparation.
To be honest I only chose this because I wanted to wallow in Alan Rickman's mellifluous tones, and reviews said it was not as depressing as some other Hardy (I had bad school memories of Tess & Jude). I am so glad I chose this. Not only is the Rickman reading highly skilled, a great pleasure to listen to and one which makes meaning crystal clear, but the plot (love, betrayal, gambling) is gripping. I had not realised how well Hardy understood human feelings, nor had I appreciated his true sympathy for a threatened environment. A great discovery.
Alan Rickman gives a stunning 'reading' of Hardy's Return of the Native. I know he's a great actor but his range of voices and emotions is entirely unexpected and of course like a true pro diction and delivery is faultless throughout. Definitely the best reading of a novel I've heard on Audible. If you're not a Hardy follower then be prepared for a slower pace than modern writing, but all the richer and more truthful for that. It's not my favourite Hardy (they're Tess and Casterbridge) hence the 4 stars for story, but nevertheless it approaches genius.
I have always found Hardy difficult to read but listening to the mellow tones of Alan Rickman read this beautiful narrative, I feel inspired to listen to more of Hardy's books.
Whereas the main characters were well drawn, I found myself getting cross with them, especially Clym. Why was he always waiting for others to do something when he could have acted upon it himself? I waited for the reappearance of Diggory Venn who, like a superhero, seemed to show up when needed most.
I did enjoy this book but, in truth, the story is a soap opera! As I suspect all of Hardy's books are but I'll listen to more because of his beautifully descriptive writing.
I would never have read the printed version as there are too many long, descriptive passages. I would have been bored and put the book down before the end of chapter one. However, Alan Rickman raises my interest with his consumate performance.
The story has many overly romantic characters. I find them interesting to try and decifer. Ultimately it is a tragic tale. I am still pondering the book after several weeks. The quality of the writing is exquisite. Hardy obviously loves the countryside and makes me understand how beautiful and timeless it can be.
Alan Rickman switches between characters expertly. He has a different voice for each and you can easily tell their social standing and personality. That makes it easier for me to understand.
When Clem finds his mother dying on the heath. Later when he finds out she died thinking he had forsaken her.
No. Thank you
So glad I chose this performance which was perfect. This novel has stirred my appetite for more Hardy, highly recommended
I have always found reading Hardy's novels difficult listening to Alan Rickman's reading revealed for me what a great writer of prose Hardy can be with profound insights into relationships between men and women.
This story is read by Alan Rickman who is perfect, this is a sad yet fascinating book. The narration is transportive. I will listen to this audio book again.
Yes. I enjoyed the story and particularly Alan Rickman's interpretation.
Diggery Venn because he has such a great name, is a good and 'colourful' character.
Wonderful regional accents and singing!
Wonderful descriptions of the heath throughout the year and the local people brought to life by Alan Rickman's narration.
"Might Be My Favorite Audiobook of All Time!"
I love Thomas Hardy, and can't recommend his books highly enough, but this reading stands out because Rickman's enunciation is so perfect and his expression so dramatic. It perfectly suits the story in a way that is almost musical. The beginning of the book is like a painting in words and is so beautiful to hear. (but I think I could enjoy Alan Rickman reading the telephone book). It's wonderful to listen a book with so much poetry read so carefully. This is the story of Eustacia Vye, the most beautifully named character in all of fiction. I highly recommend it.
"A Perfect Pairing"
One of the most satisfying audio productions I've listened to--a case where the audio version was more enjoyable to me than the text because of the pefect pairing of 2 artists. Rickman's voice added a rich shading and emphasis to Hardy's already beautiful lyricism; it was almost hypnotic. I remember long passages (especially describing Egdon Heath) that challenged my attention when I first read this book, but with Rickman's reading, it all went by like beautiful scenery. One to sit down and experience leisurely.
In this book Hardy proves he is one the really great writers that the English language has. Hardy's literary style is clearly 19th century, but it is really readable today. I thought that his style would be a little too heavy for an audiobook, but I found that the opposite is true - just like Dickens', his style lends itself well to the audiobook format.
Thomas Hardy's beautiful prose and Alan Rickman's rich voice makes this an absolutely fabulous experience. One of the best narrations I have ever heard. Highly highly recommended!!!!
"A piece of culture and history"
Alan Rickman's voice... his deep and powerful voice did make me buy this one and I discovered local life in late 19th century and an unknown workman : the reddleman which must have scared many children in thosed days in isolated places.
Great read, tragic moments and a good ending.I recommend it.
"Two Words: Alan Rickman!"
While this isn't my favorite Hardy novel (and I do love Hardy), what could be better than having the voice of Alan Rickman in your ears for more than 15 hours? The man has the sexiest voice on the planet, AND he's a great narrator for this rather melancholy story.
"Alan Rickman is divine!"
Rickman's narration is truly incredible. I wish there were more books narrated by him. This story is lovely as well. ❤️
"Dark and beautiful"
Fro the writing, and the incredible narration by Alan Rickman.
Diggory Venn, of course, because he takes things to heart in an honest way, works things out in his mind, and persists in his beliefs and his love.
He can drip with irony, and this is a book where such ironic depth brings out the author's intent.
A fire that kindles hotly burns out quickly.
Egdon Heath is a full character in The Return of the Native, which is a dark and brooding book. From page one, Hardy draws us in: "A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching the time of twilight, and the vast tract of unenclosed wild known as Edgon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment. Overhead the hollow stretch of whitish cloud shutting out the sky was as a tent which had the whole heath for its floor.The heaven being spread with this pallid screen and the earth with the darkest vegetation, their meeting-line at the horizon was clearly marked. In such contrast the heath wore the appearance of an installment of night which had taken up its place before its astronomical hour was come: darkness had to a great extent arrived hereon, while day stood distinct in the sky….The somber stretch of rounds and hollows seemed to rise and meet the evening gloom in pure sympathy, the heath exhaling darkness as rapidly as the heavens precipitated it. And so the obscurity in the air and the obscurity in the land closed together in a black fraternization towards which each advanced half-way."Just wait till you hear Alan Rickman read that.
"Good-Bye, Alan Rickman"
"The Return of the Native," I believe, is Thomas Hardy at his best, and with Alan Rickman at the helm, turning in a perfect performance, it's a near perfect work. We follow fully flesh-out characters as Hardy guides them through small-town life and the passions and dramas of unrequited love here and doomed love there. The only problem I have with Hardy and which makes this and his other works juuuuust less than flawless is his use of contrived devices: a teeny, tiny something happens that starts an AVALANCHE whereby tragedy ensues. Still and all, wonderful reading, and Hardy is a poet where starlight settles on the brows of maidens and such. And always, always, always, the oh so beautiful tones of Alan Rickman carrying the story, the poetry, making it soothe, making it soar.
Oh, boy, Alan. You will be sorely missed!
Of all the versions of "The Return of the Native" out there, I strongly suggest this one.
"Alan reads Hardy"
Listening to Alan Rickman read a classic text is a fabulous experience. Recommended. I look forward to revisiting this audiobook.
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