A couple months ago, I listened to the Librivox audiobook of Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native. I am a big Thomas Hardy fan, and hadn’t read this book in awhile, so I was looking forward to revisiting it.
Unfortunately, the reading was just terrible. It’s hard to give Librivox recordings bad ratings because the work is all done by volunteers, but I’m just trying to be honest in my assessment here. The book is billed as a group project, meaning that more than one reader handles the chapters, but in reality, a single reader read 65% of the chapters (yes, I calculated). He had some very, very long chapters in there, so I’d say that he actually read closer to 80% of the book in terms of content.
Anyway, I just COULD NOT STAND his voice or his reading style, so the recording was excruciating to listen to! I tried to get past it and hoped that I would at least get used to it in the latter stages, but that didn’t happen. Every time I heard his voice introduce yet another chapter, I felt like jabbing a pencil in my ears! Ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you get the picture.
The Return of the Native itself is an excellent story and the book is definitely worth reading. However, you’ll definitely want to skip the Librivox version of the Audiobook. In a word, it sucks.