Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is touted as a great romance; the story of star crossed lovers Heathcliff and Catherine. But it tells a dark story, to say the least. Get ready for a poignant ride that will evoke emotions you generally do not expect from a love story.
Initial reaction to this mid nineteenth century novel was not encouraging. The novel is in the form of a flashback and there are multiple narrators. It can be very confusing for a first time reader. Actually, I still find it difficult to follow sometimes. Heathcliff is a fearsome man and owner of the house Wuthering Heights. He is projected as rude and evil and lords it over a young girl, a simple young man and a grumpy servant. Our narrator is visiting his landlord and is stranded at Wuthering Heights because of the weather. He is made to feel totally unwelcome and almost everyone urges him to go out in a raging storm and try his luck finding his lodgings rather than spend the night in the wretched house. Astounded and intrigued at this apathy, the traveler comes across a diary written by Catherine Earnshaw. Thus begins his journey into the dark void that is the tragedy of Cathy and Heathcliff.
Catherine is a privileged and highly pampered child who is presented with a playmate in the form of Heathcliff, an orphan who is adopted by Catherine’s father. They roam across the moors and are inseparable. Considering that Heathcliff is sort of a foster brother to Catherine, I have never really understood the non-platonic feelings between them. Catherine is shown to have a lot of negative personality traits. She is married off to the neighbor’s son but secretly longs for Heathcliff. Losing Catherine or ‘Cathy’ unhinges Heathcliff, and we witness the gradual degradation of a man’s soul.
I have never been able to read Wuthering Heights in one sitting, mostly because it feels overwhelming. The many references to ‘Cathy’ are hard to keep track of, as are the different people narrating the story. Wuthering Heights is fascinating, and my review cannot do any justice to it. You might like it or hate it, but you will certainly not be indifferent to it. This is one book that can consume you, and something you must read at least once in your lifetime.
This is a public domain work and is available free on Kindle.