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Wuthering Heights by Emile Bronte - A book review

If all were to perish and he remained, I should still continue to be. If all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger

- Catherine Earnshaw, Wuthering Heights

The greatest love story ever written.  The greatest hate story ever written. The greatest Goth tragedy ever written. That's Wuthering Heights for you. A story about all the problems an unstable temperament can cause.  A story also about a fanatical love set out only to destroy. You finally understand what Professor Slughorn meant when he told Draco Malfoy not to underestimate the power of obsessive love. (If you didn't get that, believe in magic, muggle!!)

This should have been a simple love story.  Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. They live happily ever after. But love and hate and everything in between got so twisted in this epic of a novel that three generations suffered. This book is a bold attempt made by a female author in the Renaissance Era. It’s the first of its kind to portray that no person is completely good or bad. There is no black and white. Only different shades of grey. Heathcliff… the heartless husband, father, landlord and a vagabond can never be despised for one second by the reader, because, everything he did, every asinine decision he ever made was because of an all-consuming, almost demonic love. The man actually dug up his estranged lover's grave. That just shows that he’s gone mad because of love. Though it doesn't justify any of his misdeeds, you can sympathize with him and even forgive him. Everyone would. Except Linton. Linton is more like a Jane Austen hero. Good looking, rich, prim and gentlemanly. He would've been peaceful with a gentler woman than Catherine. As Emily Bronte puts it herself, his love is too traditional to handle the complex, dangerous passions of Catherine. The irony is that, he is such a good person in every way, still many readers (including me) and Catherine herself are more on team Heathcliff than team Linton and we actually hate the poor guy a little bit for taking Catherine away from Heathcliff.

Catherine, Oh Catherine, what can I write about her? Or more accurately, where can I begin?

Highly self-absorbed but claims to love both Linton and Heathcliff. Finally it’s her self-love that destroys her and everyone who cares for her. She is a wild cat and a dangerous woman to lose your heart to.

Personally, I liked Catherine Earnshaw better than Catherine Linton or Catherine Heathcliff. Nelly Dean is the perfect narrator, remembering every look, word and emotion of the principal characters. Although I’ve read the book so many times, I can never honestly say she’s an unbiased narrator. And neither can I push away the nagging feeling that she is the actual villain of this poetic masterpiece. There are several lines so beautiful that you simply have to stop and admire it before moving on. (Considering Joseph’s Yorkshire accent is a little difficult to decode, you may have to literally stop for a while). This is a book you can't finish without shedding a few tears. And torn whether a crazy dark love is better than a simple gentle romance.

This book is like the Rajnikanth starrer Bhasha. A cult. And remaking it or even emulating the original is impossible.  Twilight fans who think Edward and Jacob are the modern day Linton and Heathcliff can cry in their sad corner.

Tagged in : Reviews, AKSHARA VISWANATHAN, Keerthana Sankar,