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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 May 2017
A brief synopsis of Wuthering Heights would be a house in which everyone who lives there hates everyone else yet mysteriously refuses to leave!
A jolly visitor seeks a room and hopes to befriend the master of the house but finds the atmosphere positively frigid. He spends an unnerving night at the place and finds his curiosity piqued by all he experiences until he determines to get to the bottom of the mystery. This is a challenging book that will defy the reader to enjoy it but not because it's difficult to read or follow but because it's unremittingly dour. I recently re-read it in a book club and the discussion about it revealed to us that while it isn't traditionally satisfying it is undoubtedly a book of enormous depth that rewards analysis. The characters and their motivations are profound and compelling even where they are thoroughly unpleasant. The principles are Cathy and Heathcliff, two beings that clash like the immoveable object and the irresistable force; there seems to be an almost supernatural aspect to their relationship, something beyond their mortal selves that compels them to actions outside of their control, actions which seem doomed to destroy them and everyone around them.
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Review originally posted A Frolic Through Fiction: [...]

Well didn’t THIS take me by surprise!

I did not expect to enjoy this quite as much as I did. Wow.

Right. So the main thing that puts me off reading classics is the amount of effort it takes me to read them compared to my usual books because of the difference in language. Yes , I know it is more educational for me to read more complex books occasionally. But when I read for enjoyment, sometimes I just don’t want that extra struggle. And by sometimes I mean most of the time. But this book was nowhere near as difficult to understand as I thought it would be! Of course, it did take me longer to read because it was still different, but I’ve read classics that are much denser and feel like mud to get through. This didn’t. At all. Especially with the note pages at the back of the book to help you through some of the language meanings.

Honestly, I think the only time I’d struggle was when one character in particular would talk – Joseph. Dear lord, did that man have a thick accent! Half the time I had no idea what he’d be rambling on about, but like I said, the note pages are there (in this edition, at least) to help you through. I swear, most of the notes are just devoted to translating his accent and phrases!

Enough about accents though.

This book grabbed my attention from the start. It’s told in a very interesting way – and this is where I try my best to describe it to you guys while probably confusing everyone. I apologise in advance. So, you read the book from Mr Lockwood’s point of view, as he’s hearing the story of Catherine and Heathcliff through the housekeeper, Mrs Dean. If that makes sense. So you start at “present day” (though obviously not OUR present day), then go back a few years to the beginning of the story, and gradually make your way back to “present day”. If that confused you, I’m sorry for my awful explaining skills – but I promise it all makes perfect sense when you read it! What I’m basically trying to say though is that it doesn’t just feel like a random story, but you’re discovering it for a reason.

Also, the perspective you’re reading from isn’t the main character – or even a side character – but more of a…bystander? I don’t think I’ve read a book from that point of view before!

As for the actual story, although it’s by no means as action based and thrilling as most of the books I read, it was highly entertaining for me. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the Victorian drama! And yes, I say Victorian drama specifically, because everything was so much more dramatic during those times. If you look at someone without smiling, you’re basically the devil’s spawn and have no soul. I mean, look at this. One character was looking after another while they were ill, and here’s how it was described…

“His health and strength were being sacrificed to preserve a mere ruin of humanity.”

I know it’s probably wrong, but I can’t help but be amused by phrases like that! The book is so dramatic, and yet if the events happened nowadays, it’d hardly be anything. And yet everything seems like a shocking downright disgrace to humanity, purely because that’s how the book is written. And it was sort of nice to see how everything – every word, every action, every meal or object or journey – meant so much more back then. It made me feel like I was living in the Victorian times, and with how much I adore history, that’s a massive bonus to me.

At first I was VERY confused about how all the characters were related. So, so confused. But about halfway through it all became clear in an instant. That moment, oh how it felt like a ray of light burst through the clouds fogging my mind . I couldn’t make sense of it before, but just went with it and continued enjoying the story regardless, and then suddenly another person comes into play and CLICK everything suddenly makes sense.

I actually said aloud “OHHHH NOW I GET IT”

So other than the original confusion with the relations of the characters and the struggles of understanding Joseph’s accent, I had no other problems with this book. I loved the drama, I loved the gothic feeling surrounding the (very highly detailed) settings, and I loved seeing the difference between the society then and now.

I feel like this book is a great place to start if you want to get into classics. I mean, that’s what I’m trying to do, and it’s certainly worked for me! I honestly think this is my favourite classic so far (along with Pride and Prejudice).
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on 13 June 2017
I’d forgotten how ‘cinematic’ Volume 1 was. The words almost spring off the page in pictures. In her otherwise unhelpful introduction, Pauline Nestor points out that ‘Wuthering Heights’ offers ‘many things to many readers’. To her, it’s ‘transgressive’ (whatever that means!); for me, it’s the passionate love story that I first read as a teenager…Or rather, Volume 1 is. The rest, I’d forgotten (apart from the very end). It’s a sort of inversion of the previous – a bottle of red wine upside down with all the vitality of the previous generation poured out.

Stewart Robertson
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on 19 April 2013
For the kindle users among you I'll start by saying that the formatting in this book is perfect. It's easy to navigate and the paragraphs are well spaced. There are one or two typos in the text but nothing that detracts too much from the reading of the book. Considering it's free, I see no reason not to download this excellent book.

Wuthering Heights is a strange book. Being as old as it is, and having been labelled a classic, it's easy to brush it off as a silly and (dare I say it?) girly book about handsome young men and women who marry their cousins. Well, that is actually what happens but the book is so much more than that! Emily Brontë beautifully explores the lengths to which a man, driven mad by love, will go to be reunited with the object of his affection and seek revenge on the people who separated them.

However unhelpful the label may be, Wuthering Heights IS a classic which has inspired many great writers and several great musicians (see Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, and Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers and In That Quiet Earth by Genesis). It introduced some immortal and unforgettable characters such as the tortured and cruel Heathcliff and poor Catherine. Far from just being a simple love story, Wuthering Heights is a heartbreaking tale that focuses more on death and sorrow. You find yourself hating Heathcliff but also pitying him. In the end, the resolution of the story depends on the readers own interpretation of the various hints at the existence of supernatural forces Emily Brontë makes throughout the novel.

The language is fairly archaic and the "yorkshire" accents, which are written phonetically, are almost illegible in places but this just adds to the atmosphere and helps set the scene until you find yourself lost in the early 19th century. At times, the writing is almost poetic and some passages took my breath away. The very last paragraph being a perfect example:

"I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched
the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells,
listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass,
and wondered how any one could ever imagine
unquiet slumber for the sleepers in that quiet earth"

I'm more often than not found with my nose in a science-fiction or fantasy novel but this book held my attention to the point that I could not put it down.

I would recommend this book to everyone ever
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on 8 June 2017
I wanted an illustrated copy, I already have an old one. I was very disappointed and confused when this arrived as to why the pictures (very few of, must add) where one - repeated at times in the book, and two - where of Indians chasing buffalo across the plains!!!! - I kid you not. If anyone can explain the link between this great work of literature and the wild west please let me know because it feels like I have missed a link somewhere.

Lets just say, not amused and as such this book is a waste of time and money.
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on 28 May 2015
One of those books I'd been meaning to read for years, so since it was free! Don't think I really got what everyone 's raving about though...

There seemed to be quite a lot of abusive behaviour going on at Wuthering Heights, ok it was a different time, but this seems to have been well recognised by Nelly (who also mentions this was why they had difficulty keeping staff) & by Mr Lockwood too. Even though there were children around (particularly Heathcliffe himself & Hareton) being negatively affected by this toxic atmosphere & behaviour towards them, nobody does anything about it?? Nelly tries but can't & it all just seems to be treated as a bit of a running joke.

It's also described as a great love story, but a love that causes so much damage to several generations of 2 families (& seems to have contributed to several deaths) doesn't seem such a great thing to me.

I couldn't really get over these two main points & didn't really get it I don't think. I was just glad it worked out happily at the end after all the hatred!
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on 7 November 2014
Wonderful novel. Have seen many films of Wuthering Heights always depicting Heathcliffe as the baddy, and Cathy as the woebegone badly done to heroine??
How wrong I was!!
How much poetic licence have the filmakers (Hollywood) taken with their flim flam and romanticising?
I was amazed at how totally different this book is. O.k. it takes a while to get used to the style of writing, Old Yorkshire
dialect is not much of a problem for me, but, for some readers it may be a slight problem. However, I would highly recommend Heathcliffe/Cathy lovers to read this original book and draw their own conclusions.

For myself, I was stunned to realise how unhinged and manipulative dear Cathy became. It made me question who is the villain in this story?
Yes, Heathcliffe has a dark childhood, is treated with cruelty and contempt, whilst Cathy has no such demons to deal with,
yet, of the two in this romantic saga, Heathcliffe appeared the kinder person??
Great read.
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on 19 April 2016
i really love this book. It's similar to Jane Eyre in writing style and themes, but where Charlotte Bronte keeps things fairly safe and only uses touches of gothic horror to spice up an otherwise fairly optimistic and unchallenging (at least to a modern reader) romance, Emily Bronte goes the whole hog. This book is comparatively so dark and twisted. Sure, it would be incomparable to actual modern horror books. I'm not saying it's scary or anything. I just found it amazingly written and really quite gritty, so the themes of the book - isolation, alienation, class, illness, death, plenty of tragedy, are felt on every page. It's so much more interesting and insightful than other books I have read from the time. Every character is an investigation of a certain cliche in 18th Century British society, with out patronising or over simplifying. Practically every character has depth, and a story to tell.
It uses the simple but always satisfying format of a story told within a story - an outsider to Wtuehring Heights and a new tenant asks the matronly housekeeper, Nelly Dean. The following story is mainly written in the style of her recounting her life as she knits. It's charming to see such a servant be given such power over the narrative, as well as being shown to be so brave, shrewd, and warm, despite being introduced as a clucking old gossip. Her experience spans the coming of age story of two generations; her recounts of tragedy have added personal anguish, as she was involved, and a maternal figure to many of the characters, but removed. She makes up for any missing information on occasion with chilling hearsay.
The characters in the novel are some of the most compelling I've read in a while. Not all of them, I suppose - the female characters apart from Ellen Dean all unfortunately seem fairly similar, but characters like Linton and Hareton are really interesting to read. Linton, especially, was such a conflicted character, and still can't decide whether I hate the poor boy, or pity him. One other comment I have on this book is that I don't really see how Heathcliff seems to have been interpreted universally (by people who haven't read it I suppose, since this was the impression I got before I read this book) as some kind of tragic romantic hero. I suppose you could view him as that, and I definitely empathise with him in parts, but mostly he's just a psychp. It's cool that we get to see why he's like that though, and he's definitely not all to blame, to the extent that I feel maybe he has at least slightly sidestepped being pigeon-holed as evil just for being a 'gypsie'. Sure other characters view im as that, but he is written about with enough understanding and empathy that that is not all he is.

TL;DR (slightly spoilery):

everybody dies, everybody marries their cousins, everybody is super gothic. Like Jane Eyre's emo phase, but good.
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on 24 November 2014
A riveting book about nasty people.
I'm currently on a quest to re-read books first read as a youngster. I picked Wuthering Heights because I first read it at a particularly unhappy time in my life and I can now admit it seemed deeply impenetrable then.
So what would I make of it a second time around?
I couldn't put it down, which is bizarre because the story is basically about a busy-body wanting to listen to gossip about some deeply unpleasant people. This only goes to prove how awesome the author is that she can keep the reader eager for more when really the main characters are verging on sociopathic and perform acts of domestic violence.
I can only conclude that Wuthering Heights would not find a publisher in the modern day, and if self-published would probably be removed from sale because of the storyline involving the "hero" kidnapping a young woman and arranging a forced marriage.
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on 3 February 2016
The book begins in 1801 but the main story spans the previous thirty years and is told in series of flashbacks. The quality of writing is such that the shifts back and forth in time are completely seamless. There are no jolts or confusion.

The backdrop of the Yorkshire moors is perfect for the wild and sometimes dark tale that unfolds. Emily Bronte’s characters are all very believable. Even the minor characters have their own personality and their own voice.

It was published in 1848 yet the the dialogue still has a fresh feel about it. Bronte’s extensive use of contractions in dialogue, (won’t, can’t, didn’t, I’ll, I’m etc…) certainly help the flow; totally different to Jane Austen’s work, written forty years or so earlier, where the dialogue and narrative often sounded exactly the same. Though to be fair to Miss Austen, the publishers at the time may have insisted on that sanitised dialogue. It’s a pity though that some modern historical-scriptwriters seem to think that contractions are a twentieth-century invention and so they use extremely archaic language in an effort to make their work appear authentic. I was so looking forward to a BBC TV series called Ripper Street. The setting was a hundred years later than that of Wuthering Heights (and almost half a century after Bronte penned her famous work.) But when I heard the dialogue I was gutted. The characters spoke in such a long-winded almost-Shakespearian way that it completely spoilt it for me.

But I digress, I love this beautiful book, and every few years I cannot resist reading it all over again. Such a shame Emily Bronte died so young. Two or three more novels like this, and she would surely have been acclaimed as the greatest of all time.
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