Famous, all-encompassing, passionate, but ultimately doomed love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and the people around them. Today considered a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights was met with mixed reviews when it first appeared, mainly because of the narrative's stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty. Wuthering Heights has also given rise to many adaptations and inspired works, including films, radio, television dramatisations, a musical by Bernard J. Taylor, a ballet, three operas (respectively by Bernard Herrmann, Carlisle Floyd, and Frédéric Chaslin), a role-playing game, and the 1979 chart topping song by Kate Bush.
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I hate that I love it
Her voice held all the ranges that were appropriate for a novel with so many characters, and she made it clear at all times who was speaking even if their name wasn't mentioned in the dialogue.
I love classics, they have a certain charm to them. However, being in my early twenties, I am several generations removed from the ideals, and general philosophies of many characters, so I find it difficult to relate and engross myself in the story completely.
I remember somewhere near the middle of the book, I grew so frustrated that I seriously considered turning the audio off completely. I was tired of the "woes" and pity that every female expressed, the violent anger the males showed most of the time, and not to mention that every single character was not only vile, ill-mannered, and had no respect for a fellow human being, but that it was to be expected of the wealthy. All of those remarkable traits making it impossible to hope for someone's good ending. In fact I seriously hoped the author would finish them off in some way or another, because the world would be much better off.
Regardless, I managed to finish the audio, with it came somewhat of a silver-lining, and I thought nothing of it for several days. Until, all of a sudden, the volume of emotions and range of personalities had finished settling and began to repeat themselves at random moments. Walking to class or working out, I'd suddenly remember a scene from the book and with it came a warm feeling, a solid feeling of satisfaction for having known that world, regardless of how cruel.
Bronte knew well enough what she was doing when she delved and exposed the psyche of every developing character. It made them real, visceral, and crude to imagine. Yet on the other hand, all the ugly parts of human nature she bestowed on them had small glimpses of kindness, even if you couldn't trust it. It reminded me much of our world, centuries down the line, and strangely enough created a feeling of connection.
It also brought to light that regardless of how good we try to be, and we should always strive towards being kind, in our history and sometimes in ourselves we can become absolute monsters. So, on that level I related to the story, although I hate to think of it that way, but the difference between me and them is that I choose to forgive transgressions and not let revenge eat me up. That thought gives me strength and so I thank Bronte for painting a picture of a world, a path towards a dark existence, I willingly chose not to live.
Five stars for the wonderful Emma Messenger
- Christoph Marti