I remember reading Wuthering Heights about 25 years ago, when I was in high school – but other than a general sense about how “dark” it was, I had almost completely forgotten the events of the book. I had a sense that I enjoyed it on that initial reading, though, so I set about re-familiarizing myself.
It was well worth the effort.
Upon re-reading it as an adult, I found it to be much more entertaining than dark. At times it’s almost like a soap opera – but I don’t mean that to sound insulting. Yes, it can be overly dramatic, but unlike a real soap opera, the characters are so well developed that it feels like they always have purpose behind their action. There is always a clear reason as to what drives them. And the few scenes when characters reflect on their motivations are really well done – never feeling contrived or overly expository. They feel real (if heightened).
I really enjoyed re-reading this – in part because of the story and the characters, but also because of the writing. Bronte’s prose is beautiful, and she does a good job of balancing action and description – she doesn’t dwell for days on description, which I often find a problem with classic literature. It’s nicely balanced instead, and the story moves along at a good pace, even interjecting elements of humour in good measure.
I can’t quite bring myself to give it 5 stars, but it’s 4 at least, likely closer to 4.5.
Sadly, it doesn’t look like there have been very many well-received film adaptations of the book. It’s been adapted often but the reviews haven’t been favourable. It’s too bad, I would have like to see it represented on screen.
I do have an old Classics Illustrated edition of the book, that I re-read after I finished the novel – and that offered a bit of light fun, seeing the characters represented visually. Oh well, someday, someone will make a good film adaptation. Either that or I can wait another 25 years until I forget the story and read it again.