Penguin UK, trade pb, 392 p.
Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance is now visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.I’d had this sitting on my shelves unread for quite a long while, but the timing felt right to give it a try. This definitely seems to be one of those books that people either love or hate, so I was curious how I would feel about it as I finally set out to read it for myself.
‘It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff, now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.’Well, I still don’t understand the people who consider it “so romantic!” because to me it was a tale of obsession, pride, revenge, but never romance. I think Emily’s sister Charlotte described it well in the preface to the 1850 edition when she refers to “perverted passion and passionate perversity”. Despite never actually liking any of the main characters though (they really were quite a selfish, arrogant lot!), I’m glad to say I really enjoyed it! I especially loved the gothic mood of it with the lonely moors invading all aspects of their lives, isolating them and creating the claustrophobic atmosphere of such a limited social circle. I also enjoyed the structure of the novel and the choice of narrators, and overall I found it a well-written, engaging story. A perfect autumn read!
‘Nelly, help me to convince her of her madness. Tell her what Heathcliff is – an unreclaimed creature, without refinement – without cultivation; an arid wilderness of furze and whinstone. I’d as soon put that little canary into the park on a winter’s day as recommend you to bestow your heart on him!’The only other Brontë novel that I’ve read is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and contrary to the many who love it, I thought it was just ok. Perhaps it’s not so surprising then that I liked Wuthering Heights as much as I did since people seem to tend to prefer one over the other. I’d love to read something else by Emily; it’s such a shame that she never got a chance to write another novel. Next I'll have to read something by Anne. I have The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and it'll be interesting to compare to the novels of her sisters. I'm also very interested now to read more about the lives of the Brontë sisters. Any suggestions?
Brontë Parsonage Museum and Brontë Society
My Rating: 4/5
(#48 for 2008, Herding Cats Challenge, 1% Well-Read Challenge, My Year of Reading Dangerously)
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