I have finally (and I really do mean finally, this book has been on my shelf unread for 4 years!) gotten around to reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. It’s a noted classic but I will definitely say it’s not a love story. I like the book, but I spent a bit of time yelling at the characters – ‘Why would you do that!!!’ It seemed the prevailing theme; characters choosing the wrong path and person despite all of their supposed love and intelligence.
Wuthering Heights is a great house on the moors in England where Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff grow up together and slowly fall in love. And one would hope, for a novel that is generally billed as a romance, that things will go on swimmingly and there’ll be a June wedding. Except they don’t. Cathy and Heathcliff are afflicted by several fatal flaws – he is brooding and jealous, she is spiteful and self-obsessed. They can’t be together due to the overly obvious class restrictions and decide to make everyone around them suffer for it.
And yet, I could not put this book down! The language is not as tough as, say, Tess of the D’Urbevilles, so once you get into the swing of formal English it’s pretty compulsively read. Everyone feels emotion intensely and the houses are creepy Gothic mansions and the moors are believably haunted by ghosts. The interesting thing about the style Emily Bronte uses is that we very rarely see the characters as they truly are. Heathcliff and Cathy’s story is told through the memories of Cathy’s nurse and maid, and the novel segues out of their story and into the second generation, where Heathcliff is trying to marry his son, Linton, to Cathy’s daughter (conviniently named) Catherine, so as to cause more ruin and pain among the family. Luckily for the second generation, love does win out and Catherine is able to achieve the kind of happy ending Heathcliff and Cathy could never have.
I can’t really say that it is the greatest novel I’ve ever read, but I still vastly enjoyed Wuthering Heights.