Nyx Book Reviews

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Reading Classics: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I read this book as part of the Classics Club Challenge – I challenged myself to read fifty classics picked by me in the next three years. To find out more, you can see my list or visit the Classics Club website.

Title: Wuthering Heights
Author: Emily Brontë
First Publication: 1847

Project Gutenberg Praise of Folly (free download)
Or find it at The Book Depository

I’m so on the fence about Wuthering Heights. On one hand I loved the writing and the story, but on the other hand the story moved so slowly that I read it over a span of half a year. There was nothing that gripped me or made me continue, it’s only because I’ve got such an expensive edition that I felt like I had to finish it.

The narrative technique in Wuthering Heights is interesting. In present day we have a conversation between the new inhabitant of the house and the housekeeper. The housekeeper tells the history of the house and the families that have occupied it. Near the end the story returns to the present day, which wraps up all story lines.

I hate Heathcliff. He didn’t have a great childhood, but that didn’t account at all for the cruel and terrible person he grew up to be. Some things he did were inexcusable to me, and I’m having a hard time to imagine how people can find him attractive. He’s not a tortured hero, he’s a villain with no redeeming qualities. Loving someone is not a redeeming quality. Just because a serial killer spoils his dog doesn’t make him a good person – neither does Heathcliff’s obsession with Cathy excuse anything he did.

For me Wuthering Heights is not a story of love, but a story of destruction. It’s the tale of how two families become bonded in jealousy and hate, and destroy each other from the inside out. That being said, I loved how it ended on a positive note. After so much tragedy I could use some positivity.

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  • MaryKate Sullivan

    This has been on my list for some time. Maybe a project to tackle over the holidays?? Thanks for the review 🙂

    • http://www.nyxbookreviews.com/ Celine

      It’s probably a great holiday read, very atmospheric and that will allow you to really dig in (: thanks for stopping by MaryKate

  • http://irisonbooks.com/ Iris

    I have read Wuthering Heights twice now. Once in print and once in audio. For me, the audio worked better, because the quality of the style came across better. Nevertheless, like you, I still struggle to engage with the story.

    • http://www.nyxbookreviews.com/ Celine

      Yeah; it really is hard to fully connect because there just isn’t a character you can really root for. Most of them are pretty terrible. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one that has a hard time with it though ^^

  • http://ofbooks.org/ Alice

    I love this book, it’s so beautiful. You are right though, it’s a slow mover. I read it in half a day, however, I was so desperate to know what happened it gripped me despite the slow pace. It’s preferable to Jane Eyre for me.

    Definitely a story on the destruction of love, good despriction.

    • http://www.nyxbookreviews.com/ Celine

      I still have to read Jane Eyre, so it’ll be interesting to see whether I like that one. It’s great that you enjoy Wuthering Heights so much! It’s amazing that you read it so quickly, compared to my six months. Thanks for stopping by Alice (:

  • Ana Eileen

    It’s good to know that there is no tragic hero (I was told there was one…), but at least the book ends with something positive… after a lot of tragedies, I think the book must at least end with a note of positivity. :3

    • http://www.nyxbookreviews.com/ Celine

      I agree. And no, I wouldn’t call Heathcliff a tragic hero. An anti-hero maybe, but he really isn’t someone you root for. I was glad it ended on a positive note, otherwise I would have been pretty depressed after finishing it