I am listening to the audiobook “The Return of the Native” by Thomas Hardy at the moment. It is narrated by Alan Rickman who has a wonderful voice, so rich and velvety and authoritative.
On starting the book, however, I was taken aback with the level of detail of the physical location of the narrative and feared I had a mistake and would be returning it to Audible. Thankfully, I persisted and am delighted I did so because I am now in love with the writing and the book.
So enamoured have I been that I felt compelled to research Thomas Hardy, his life and works. I also watched an interesting BBC documentary narrated by Griff Rhys Jones on YouTube about Thomas Hardy, his life, and his loves.
When I researched what other Hardy novels I could explore I discovered that I have already read most of his most popular works: Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude the Obscure.
I intend returning to reread them or get the audiobooks on Audible because I certainly did not notice on first reading how good a writer Thomas Hardy was.
The writing in The Return of the Native is so detailed, descriptive, and powerful that you are drawn into the drama of an emotion being betrayed on the face of one of the characters. The personalities are incredibly realistic and you never question their existence or credibility, or the dialogue exchanged between the characters.
Rickman’s narration is, of course, astonishing and his voice lends such gravitas to the telling of the story.
Another book I listened to recently, and which I loved, was “The Remains of the Day”, narrated by Dominic West and written by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book, and the writing, if I was compelled to describe with one word I would describe as “delicious’.
Again, the writing and the narration is spellbinding and it is a beautiful book that is well worth listening to or reading, depending on how you prefer to consume your literature.
The daily joy I receive from having these books available to me on my smartphone as I drive the short drive to work in the morning, or as I exercise in the evening after work, is immeasurable.