Friday, 29 April 2011
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Now heres a book that's sure to divide people. Some people have been known to throw this book across the room while others will rave and defend it to the death, either way it provokes reactions.
My first experience with the characters of Wuthering Heights was through the old black and white film staring Lawrence Oliver. Me and my mum sat down to watch it (it had come free with a newspaper) thinking we were going to watch one of the 'greatest ever love stories'. Two hours later during which we experienced many WTF moments, we were left kind of disgusted/horrified/confused etc and it put me off ever reading the book.
But read it I did because heck I wanted an opinion about it and to see what all the fuss is about. Sometimes its good to read things like this because its one of those books where I thought I knew what it was all about but in-reality I didn't, much of the plot was a complete surprise (that old films left out loads.) Cathy dies surprisingly early on in the novel and most of Heathcliffs wrath is directed towards his son and Cathy's daughter. There are also other significant characters which heavily feature which again surprised me as I was expecting it to be all about Heathcliff and Cathy.
Much has been said about the general horribleness of the characters and yes as a reader I felt pushed to the limit at times with their cruelty towards each-other. But I'm not someone who has to like or connect with characters in order to enjoy a book, I guess it was the general horror at times and a kind of morbid fascination that kept me turning the pages. I couldn't look away and found it strangely absorbing. A lot of this had to do with the setting, I've read a fair few books that feature the English moors but none have had quite the desolate or foreboding atmosphere that Wuthering Heights gave to me in droves.
I can understand why it is a classic, there isn't quite another novel like it and I can also understand completely why people would hate this novel (I am sure some will say hello in the comments ;) but it isn't a classic just because of the nasty, cruel characters, there is much more to this novel in the passion, tragedy and the Gothic elements. It is a love story but just not in the conventional/normal sense.
Aside from the plot just getting downright silly towards the end I did enjoy this and I read it quite quickly. I can't say I loved it exactly but it certainly won't be one I'll ever forget. If you do decide to read this then you have to face it, you will have problems with some of the characters, as hard as it may be you kinda have to just let them get on with it and play out their own story.
I read this as part of a mini-readalong hosted by Bibliojunkie and its worth popping over for links to the other partcipants for more opinions.
Posted by Jess