Wuthering Heights, the song, is the soundtrack of my early childhood. My mother would pull the Kate Bush record from its sleeve and put it on the player, then dance around the loungeroom in all her glory.
Wuthering Heights, the book, I knew nothing about. But guess what song was stuck in my head for the entire 52 days it took me to read it?
Chilling in parts, horrifying in others, yet strangely relateable most of the way through, this book was a pleasure to read. It took me a long time to get through, but not for want of trying, it was more that life got in the way. Every one of the characters was unique, each with their light and dark sides, and when Cathy clawed at the window on that cold blustery night I felt I was right there with her (I admit I had trouble sleeping immediately after that!)
I’ve read a few of these mid-1800s novels now and the talent of the authors – in particular, the female authors – astounds me. According to Wikipedia, this was Emily Brontë’s only novel and she died the year after when she was aged… wait for it… just 30 years old. Imagine completing a work of art such as this, in a society where you couldn’t even publish it under a female name, and all before the age of 30. Way to go making me feel like a pretty inadequate writer Emily!
Yes, I enjoyed every page of this dark story. And Kate Bush’s soundtrack came through loud and clear. I guess I’d never thought too much into it, but many of the lyrics from the song are direct quotes from the book. When this song from my childhood spoke to me through the words on the page, it made it all seem vaguely familiar, which drew me even deeper into the story.
And in case you were wondering, yes, my mother did proudly participate in the recent ‘Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever‘ in Newcastle. I honestly can’t believe this is a thing.
In July 2014 I set myself the challenge to finish 100 must-read books before I die. For my ongoing tally click here.Follow @jessieansons