Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Wuthering Hights by Emily Brontë (2.5/5)

First published: 1847
Page count: 272

The back says: Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

I say: I had to read this for uni as well as for my 100 Classics Challenge and I am absolutely thrilled that I was able to kill two birds with one really bad book, because I hated it.

I really just hated it.

And mostly because all of the main characters, sans Mr Lockwood and Isabella and Edgar Linton, were some kind of insane. Maybe the maid Nelly wasn’t really insane (as such) but she was a meddling old lady that needed to keep her mouth shut on more occasions than I cared to count.

Having said that, I cannot believe how anyone would dare to think that Heathcliff and Catherine are/were a great literary couple. Their love was abusive and self-destructive beyond words; and if they had only done the decent thing and ran away or killed themselves it could have imploded on itself, wrecking only two lives. Instead, these two twits chose to be selfish and ruin everyone else’s life in the process. Catherine was a puerile, selfish, and histrionic bint who did anything for attention, and Heathcliff was a serious psychopath with a humongous chip on his shoulder and an irrepressible thirst for revenge.

Oh yeah, they sound like the sort of people I’d want to hang out with.

Putting these two idiots aside, the story itself was a whole lot of meh. There was nothing in there that interested me (add this Brontë to one of those Brits I find tiresome) and I have vague memories of reading this in my teens (I must have supressed it like I did with the other Brontë). The writing, mind me, wasn’t excellent, but tolerable (apart from Joseph’s dialogue in vernacular, which I cannot stand). It was full of nice symbolism; which is all well and good for when I am in literary science mode – and I would love to just pick this novel apart – but when reading for pleasure, I just couldn’t deal with the descriptions of the weather and landscape.

When I get too negative about books I tend to want to stop (because I don’t want people to hate them based on my opinion – and also because I can’t be arsed to go on and on about them), so I shall leave it at that. This gets 2.5/5 because of the writing – the story itself would get 1/5.

And I must just comment and laugh at the contrived ghost story element at the end (and actually at the beginning as well).

I mean, seriously!?

Aside: This is apparently Edward and Bella's (from Twilight) favourite book, which makes their relationship make all kinds of sense. And no, I didn't actually know that. Pfft. I read it here.

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