Friday, August 6, 2010

TH: Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights read by Ruth Golding. I’m a little behind on my classics so I never read Wuthering Heights. This’ll be a mini-review of the book, and then of the recording itself.

The book is crafted to make you hate everyone in it at first, and then slowly redeem most of the characters in it. The frame of the story is narrated by Mr. Lockwood, who moves to a house in the country to avoid company. And then immediately imposes himself on his landlord, a man who hates company even more than Mr. Lockwood himself.

Lockwood feels compelled to meddle in the strange arrangement of his landlord’s household and soon finds that the household’s antisocial behavior is related to some dark mystery with supernatural overtones.

It’s unclear whether there’s any actual supernatural element in the book, but it’s far more impelling and frightful than The Turn of the Screw. I’m going to make some enemies here, but comparing these two only, Emily Brontë is the better writer.

The specific LibriVox edition I listened to was read by Ruth Golding. Ruth manages to keep distinct voices for all of the characters, including both a male narrator, female narrator, house keepers, young men and women of different social standings, a curmudgeonly old Bible-thumper, and a wide variety of accents. This is one of the most skillful single-reader books I’ve ever listened to. It would be perfectly possible to keep track of the different characters without “s/he said” tags.

If you’re going to listen to Wuthering Heights, there is no possible better way to do so.

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