#Victober Update: Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte
Published 1847
#Victober Readathon

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've seen people going crazy over this book. In the past I've just rolled my eyes and ignored them: now I understand why. In fact, now I feel a bit stupid for not having read it sooner.

If you're going to write a romance novel - this is how you do it.

Mr Lockwood, a tenant at Thrushcross Grange, visits his Tennant at Wuthering Heights. There in the vast, bleak Yorkshire moors he meets the mysterious Heathcliff. As the book continues, we find out the tragic backstory behind Heathcliff's life and the dark secrets of his past.


I'm pretty sure I'd count this as one of the best books I've read this year. If I was pushed, I'd say it was the best.

On the writing - it's beautiful. It's hauntingly beautiful, and I don't think it's ever going to leave me. Every word seems to be perfect. Not only that, it's accompanied by a brilliant plot - complex, yes, but so much better because of it. It's one of those books that you can go back to again and again - and still find something that you hadn't discovered before. There's something so special about this book - maybe it's the gothic-ness, maybe it's the feeling of tragedy - that I can't quite put my finger on.

Something I was really surprised by all the negative reviews this gets. One of the main criticisms: the characters are unlikeable.

Yes, some of the characters are unlikeable. Some of them are snobby, rude, and some of them are downright pricks. But why does that make it a bad book? Ok, I see the attraction of reading about people you can relate to - root for, but I don't see why a book has to have likeable characters just to be enjoyed? In fact, I think Bronte's characters are one of her greatest triumphs here. They came alive on the page. I'm pretty sure Heathcliff is one of the best characters I've ever seen written - I don't say that lightly. The prose is poetic, beautiful - and the characters thrive in it. I think the fact that they're unlikeable is one of the thing that contributes to the brilliant reading experience.

Read it, goddammit.
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