Friday, September 7, 2012

Wuthering Heights Read-a-Long: Week One

I'm finally reading a book by a Bronte sister.  I have had a collection of the Brontes' works in hardback sitting on my bookshelf for several years (longer than a decade I'm sure) and have never read any of the books.  Its crazy, isn't it? Actually, what's crazier is that I also have a collection of Austen's works in hardback sitting next to the Brontes' works that I have also never read.  So, yeah, that is definitely crazy! Talk about wasting good reads!  Anyhow, the reason I decided to give Emily Bronte's, Wuthering Heights, a go, was due to the fact that  Wallace over at Unputdownables chose Wuthering Heights as her next read-a-long book.  And I figured that now was as good a time as any to find out all about the moors, Heathcliff, and Cathy.

Today marks the end of Week One, where we were supposed to have read up to Chapter V - of course, me being sick with a cold all week, I have only just finished reading these chapters just now.  So, I have Lockwood, Heathcliff and Mrs. Dean fresh in my head.  And I am loving it! I can't believe how much I'm enjoying this book, after having just read five chapters - this shows me that I am definitely in for quite a treat. 

Okay, so I'm going to be quite frank and admit that all I have heard about this book (and this is in spite of having majored in English Lit for both my BA and MA) is that there are moors, a guy named Heathcliff and a gal he loves named Cathy.  That's it. So, imagine my surprise to discover that this book is a gothic novel - SCORE!  That means that not only will I be enjoying a group read of the book with Unputdownables' Read-a-Long, but I can also include it as a book for R.I.P. VII (a reading challenge that I am participating in).  Hmmm. I'm starting to think that this was definitely meant to be - kismet.

Anyhow, I digress.  As far as Wuthering Heights goes, the book is good.  Emily Bronte definitely has a way with words.  She makes you feel as if you are there at Wuthering Heights listening to Lockwood (our narrator) describe in detail the furniture, walls, and atmosphere of the house.  We read all about Lockwood's first encounter with the surly Heathcliff (his new landlord), who pretty much emanates inhospitable vibes and flat out tells Lockwood not to visit again. Of course, Lockwood (who described himself as being shy, because he couldn't tell a woman who he 'loved' (meaning he just stared at her longinly), "Hello." - stalker!) decides that Heathcliff does want him to visit again and so he marches up to Wuthering Heights, only to be treated rather dismissively by everyone he encounters - including Heathcliff himself (again).  Lo and behold, the weather gets nasty outside and Lockwood fears he will not be able to find his way home, so he asks if someone can guide him home, but his requests fall on deaf ears - I have to admit I cracked up at that bit; because I can just imagine Lockwood whinging about needing a guide and everyone in the house purposely ignoring him. Anyhow, in the end, Lockwood is shown a room upstairs and told he can stay the night.  Once settled in, he discovers a pile of books that belonged to a Catherine Linton, whose name has also been scratched on the wood...hmmm. After reading some of the pages in what appears to be Catherine's diary, Lockwood falls straight into a nightmare where he hears the ghost of Catherine calling to him and demanding to be let in.  He even touches her hand through the window and feels its icy coldness, which freaks him out and so he screams.  Heathcliff shows up and wants to know why Lockwood screamed and how did he wind up in this room.  Lockwood decides he can't sleep anymore and tells Heathcliff he will walk around for a bit until the sun comes up and he can go home - just as he is leaving the room, he overhears Heathcliff calling for Catherine to come inside - talk about surprising! Eventually, Lockwood makes it home and winds up having a chat with Mrs. Dean, a woman in town who knows all about Catherine Linton and Heathcliff - and she has no problem sharing everything she knows.  We learn about how Heathcliff came to live at the Earnshaws and how the family was not welcoming of the little boy - although Catherine eventually doted on him, as did her father.  And we learn that Mrs. Dean did not think Heathcliff capable of vindictive behavior, but claims that she was wrong (can we say, foreshadowing!). 

That's where I left off and let me tell you, I am already eager to continue reading.  I want to find out how Heathcliff was vindictive.  I want to find out what happened to Catherine.  I want to know what Lockwood is going to do with this information that he is discovering.  I want to know if Bronte is going to spook me again with another ghostly appearance (I'm sure she will).  And I just want to know why Catherine would name her daughter Cathy (okay, not really, but c'mon, Cathy! - it was her own name!).

So, I'm off to read some more and I'm looking forward to reading everyone's thoughts on this terrific book over at Wallace's site, Unputdownables.  Check it out and join in on the fun! 


Brenda said...

Nadia, this is an awesome book!
Hope you continue to enjoy it.

Nadia said...

Brenda, that's good to know! Thanks!

Vintage Reading said...

I'm going through a Bronte phase myself, just started Jane Eyre, but I fancy a re-read of WH, too. Your post has prompted me to move it to top of pile!

Nadia said...

Vintage Reading, Hurrah for the Bronte sisters! I don't think I've read Jane Eyre since college...hmmm, perhaps its time to give it a re-read. I'm glad you are moving WH atop your pile - a wise choice :) I am really enjoying the story so far - its so much better than I had expected (which I'm not sure what I really expected). Looking forward to your thoughts on Eyre and WH (if you post on it). Cheers!

Amanda said...

Oh yay! It is a great RIP read. I hated it when I read it in high school and I re-read it a couple years ago and LOVED it. You are in for a crazy ride!

Nadia said...

Amanda, so glad to hear that. Isn't it crazy how much a book can change for you - the fact that you hated it in high school and then loved it years later - WOW! I swear, reading is all about our mood and where we are in life - it definitely can make or break a book for us. So glad that WH was a great read for you ;)