Wuthering Heights Wins at Everything

Wuthering Heights is, quite seriously, my favorite book of all time. I’ve read it easily a dozen times and every time I notice something (or somethings) that I never have before.

The characters are amazing. They are all intriguingly damaged. Romance is mostly between good girls and bad-for-no-reason boys. The boy sees this nice girl and realizes that he could be nice to her and they could be nice together and then they skip around. Or some such nonsense. (Occasionally I am a fan of skipping, but this book is better than that. This book contains 0% happy skipping.) It is a cautionary tale about how love makes people miserable and insane. This story tells you what happens at the end of the uncontrolled love road – if you are a sociopath and/or none of your friends has the decency to slap you and tell you to get it together (or if, in the case of Catherine and Heathcliff, you have never had any friends). Hint: it’s brainfever.

I do love a frame. I feel like this is a plot device under-utilized in books but over-utilized in, say, mystery TV shows. We are shown the eventual outcome and then the story jumps backwards – about 30 years in this case. And then we all get to be detectives with Lockwood. PLUS two stories in one!

Unreliable narration just makes me happy. It leaves the entire interpretation up to the reader. It is a story that seriously expects more of you. Lockwood is wrong about everything. And he’s decidedly un-omnicient. (There has got to be a better way to say that.) He’s actually pretty stupid; he mistakes Heathcliff insisting his new tenant sleep outside in the snow for shyness. C’mon, that’s priceless.

You have to read it twice. I know this is bad news because it is written in a dense, old style that’s time consuming and the characters are all basically jerks but, I promise, everyone who’s terrible gets what they deserve. But even if I told you everything that happens in it, and I will if you ever foolishly mention this book in my presence, you would still have to read it twice. The first time you adjust to the flow of it and realize that the plot is never going to go where you think it will; the second time it’s amazing. AMAZING. Plus Kate Bush wrote a song about it with a ridiculous video. AND Kate Beaton felt it deserved two comic strips. So the two best Kates I can think of approve.

In conclusion, it wins at everything.


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