Book Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I read Wuthering Heights more because I felt I probably should have done by now than because it was crying out at me to be read, and this bore fruit as I trudged my way through it.

In the beginning, it had me. The early descriptions of Wuthering Heights and the moors cultivate a sense of isolation and build a contained world in which characters will later toil and it was easy to see why this aspect of the novel has received the plaudits it has over the years.

But then there was the story, which I found meandered around without grabbing me at any point and by the time I was halfway through, that early sense of excitement that I had picked up something that was outstanding from the first page, had petered out. A lot of the time, I was reading in fits and starts rather than an hour at a time which probably exacerbated my disharmony with the flow of the story. But when I look back on the best books I have ever read (even if I only managed a handful of pages in a particular sitting) I never felt the same distance to the storyline as I did here.

Everything is centred around the troubled, terrible Heathcliff and the main point I took away from Wuthering Heights was the idea that a damaged childhood often forges a damaging adult; although Heathcliff is by no means the first character to suffer from such afflictions.

It was not without its moments but overall, I was glad to see the back of Wuthering Heights. Maybe I’m a philistine, maybe there was something wonderful at work that I didn’t see, but for what it’s worth; I’d advise those considering a visit to Wuthering Heights to listen to four a half minutes of Kate Bush, rather than read 245 pages of Emily Bronte.

Rating: 2/5

Ever since its release this book has polarised opinion. I’d have to place myself alongside the cynics on this one.

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