The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy

The hypnotic power of The Return of the Native can't be overstated. Everyone seems under some sort of spell. But the passions of the characters are secondary to the magnitude and majesty of the rugged heath they inhabit. Those who embrace their surroundings and give in to their circumstances may find some level of peace, but woe be to those who resist. The native in the title is Clym Yeobright, who returns to his mother's home, ominously named Blooms-End, after an extended absence. He wants to add meaning to his life by becoming a teacher after a successful, but unfulfilling, career as a dealer of diamonds in Paris. This sets off a series of events that end in death and despair for those he loves. He strives for a principled life of ideas, but luckily he has the capacity to adapt to the exigencies of life. Those who are not so practical-or who are more passionate in their natures-are not so lucky. For them, the subtitle of this powerful tale could be The Perils of Projection.