Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Published by Penguin Classics on November 6, 2008 (first published December 1847)
Genre(s): fiction, classics
Format & Length: hardcover, 353
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In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere … As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at the strange, grim house Wuthering Heights. It is a place he will never forget. There he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since she was young. How her choice led to betrayal and terrible revenge – and continues to torment those in the present. How love can transgress authority, convention, even death.
I have a few friends who love Wuthering Heights, and I’ve heard several times that it’s one of those books that you either love or hate. But, to be perfectly honest, I feel pretty neutral about it.
“On that bleak hill top the earth was hard with a black frost, and the air made me shiver through every limb.”
Let me start with the writing itself. Some of it was quite evocative, but most of it was dense and difficult to process. Granted, part of this is due to having been written in a different time period, so I gave it some leeway and took it slow. And I found the Yorkshire dialect in particular incredibly hard to read, especially in the very beginning. If it wasn’t for the notes at the end of the book, I would have had to muddle my way through to figure out what was actually going on.
And it did get easier the deeper I went. Although the beginning was rocky and slow going, I gradually began to find my stride. The plot was fairly interesting, which helped to keep my attention. But it was the characters themselves that fascinated me most. To be clear, the majority were truly insufferable, with few redeeming qualities, if any. And I’d hardly call this a romance, as many people have; there was absolutely nothing romantic in these pages. A tale of toxic love, maybe.
Wuthering Heights is, overall, a dark Gothic story. It’s hard to say that I enjoyed it. But it did intrigue me. And there were several aspects that I appreciated, particularly in exploring the different facets of selfishness and the vicious cycle of violence and abuse. Am I glad to have finally read this? Yes. Will I read it again? Well… it wouldn’t be my first choice.