Friday, November 21, 2008

Wuthering Heights

Until I read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronté I had not read any of the Bronté sisters' books. Somehow that era of classics had just not appealed to me.  However Wendy prevailed upon me to read ít and I have just finished it.  It is another first too:  the first time I've read a novel borrowed from a public library.

I had always thought that this was a story of great emotional love.  As I got into it (I have to admit that, at first particularly, I found it very hard to follow) I felt more and more that it was a story of obsessive all-consuming hatred and revenge.  Such 'love' as there was appeared to me to be obsessive desire rather than true love.  This is a novel about male domination and female powerlessness, abandonment, betrayal, jealousy, obsession and revenge.  Of true love I find little.  I accept that I am a still, small voice.

But who am I to comment on such a novel when, apparently, more essays and analysis and speculation has been written about this novel than any other.   I do wonder, though, how somone of the tender age and upbringing of E B could have the knowledge and imagination that which she obviously had in order to write such prose and convey emotions or actions of such fearful ferocity.

This is not a novel for the faint hearted.  I shall, at some time, revisit it.  It will be interesting to see if, next time I read it, I perceive it in a different light.  To be sure I will certainly enjoy the splendid prose.

I did rather enjoy one critic who had evidently been infected by the food and starvation imagery of the novel who wrote "There is an old saying that those who eat toasted cheese at night will dream of Lucifer".  The author of Wuthering Heights has evidently eaten toasted cheese.

Friday, November 7, 2008

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

I finished reading this book on the 'plane on the way to New Zealand.  I've been thinking about it on and off ever since.  I think that this is the first book I've blogged about and upon which I have had such difficulty knowing what to say.  

I'm not well enough read to comment on the style of writing but I have never come across a similar one.  It seemed to me that the storyline was almost irrelevant.  I think that the point must be in the detail rather than the general. The prose was, I thought, beautifully poetic and painted a picture that even my unimaginative mind could appreciate. However I usually read a book in very small tranches and my inability to conceptualise sometimes made it difficult to re-locate myself into the geographical setting.   But that's probably just me.

I'm not even sure that I actually enjoyed it.  But it certainly made me think.  Perhaps that is what I got out of this book.  Has any other reader of this blog read it?  

If you listen you can hear it.
The city, it sings.
It's a wordless song, for the most, but it's a song all the same, and nobody hearing it could doubt what it sings.  And the song sings the loudest when you pick out each note.

...I don't understand how we can be so busy and then have nothing to say to each other.

I look at my room, at the table with the flowers and the pot of tea, the two cups, I think how nice two cups on a table can look.

He says, if nobody speaks of remarkable things, how can they be called remarkable?