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Wuthering Heights tells the tale of Heathcliff, a young orphaned gypsy boy, who is brought to the windswept moors of Yorkshire by Mr Earnshaw, the master of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff's childhood there is riddled with bullying and humiliation, but the master's daughter, the precocious and untameable Cathy, becomes his ally, and a childhood fondness for one another grows to a great passion.
Following a misunderstanding, Heathcliff believes that Cathy has rejected him, and he leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return after three years have passed. When he returns, now mysteriously rich, he learns of Cathy's marriage to another and vows to focus his passionate nature on merciless revenge. Heathcliff's retribution proves so destructive that left in its wake are not only his enemies, but the very object of his obsession and, ultimately, himself.
"Search no further. A masterful vocal talent has found a masterpiece of world literature to perform....Kitchen's intoxicatingly rich voice is the perfect medium for Bronte's romantic lyricism." (AudioFile)
This story is just as powerful as it ever has been, and Kitchen is the perfect narrator. People looking for a sweet love story should go to "Pride & Prejudice", this book is about the destructive power of love, not the redeeming power of it. Love destroys Heathcliff and Catherine and everyone in their lives, and it's a beautiful story in its gothic horror.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Let me say first that although I have seen a couple of the filmed versions of this classic, I have never been able to make it through the text. Seeing it narrated by Michael Kitchen invited me to try the book again, and as I had hoped, his elegant reading got me through to the end.
This is a very difficult book for those who approach it expecting grand romance. This is a tragedy born of selfish obsession and revenge. If you expect to see the tormented devotion of Laurence Olivier’s Heathcliff, go back to the movies. Bronte gave him no such sentimentality or romance. He is steely hard in his determination to wreak vengeance on Hindly for his mistreatment, and on Cathy for abandoning him for the soft life as a rich man’s wife. These three primary characters lead wreaking ball lives that resonate into the next generation so that even their children are unloved pawns of their parents’ ruined lives.
How does this grim tale survive as a classic? I believe it’s because as we get deeper into the stories of the second generation we find (finally) some hope and redemption. There is hope for nature to triumph over nuture even when that nurturing has been so dreadfully toxic. It’s also helpful that Bronte knows how to write eloquently, communicating the bleakness of the moors as a co-conspirator in the creation of the hard natures of those who inhabit this land. Kitchen’s reading struck all the right notes. If you want to tackle this challenging story, I highly recommend selecting this version.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
A reader/listener has to get beyond the horrors of Wuthering Heights to see the beauty of the writing & depth of characters. Kitchen was a fantastic narrator.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Heathcliff really is one of the earliest modern depictions of a sociopath, and Michael Kitchen captures that society-hating anger so brilliantly.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What a great book! No wonder it is a classic! I had always wanted to read the book but was intimidated by the number of pages. I love Mr. Kitchen's British accent for this book. Thank you!
What did you love best about Wuthering Heights?
Wuthering Heights is one of my all time favorite novels for I really enjoy reading of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff's love which started from their childhood when they found refuge in each other's company, survived their marriages to other people, and lasted until death. Their burning love consumes them and arguably drives both to madness.
What other book might you compare Wuthering Heights to and why?
It's hard to compare Wuthering Heights to another novel that I have read before, but perhaps it is similar to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre in that they both present unconventional men whose love push them to ignore social mores to be with the women they love.
Have you listened to any of Michael Kitchen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This is the first of Michael Kitchen's performances that I have heard so I can make no comparisons; however, Kitchen did an excellent job. He varied his voice well for each character, and used a perfect voice for Heathcliff; it was deep, passionate and fiery.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
True love or obsession?
Any additional comments?
The wholesome love that Edgar Linton has for Cathy serves as a nice contrast for Heathcliff's roaring ardor, but Edgar's behavior doesn't bring the explosive energy that Heathcliff's actions bring. I also appreciate Bronte's use of setting to set tone and reveal character.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Well written, but depressing. Had I known that before I bought it, I would not have bought it. That was my fault though. The reader does a great job with voices and pace.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful
if you had to read this is high school (or not) and enjoyed it, you will enjoy listing to the narrator bring it life. I remembered that i loved the story but it had been so long that i had forgotten major details. i now know why and that, i really love this book.
I had not read this since high school (a long time ago). I did not particularily like it in HS, but thought that it deserved a second try since we tend to enjoy things more when we are not being forced to do them. And it was mentioned in a recent romantic comedy as being the book that the heroine read every year at Christmas. I was sure that it was better than I remember and I too would becme a devoted fan, if not an "annual" one. I was wrong. In fact, I think that it was worse the second time around. Not one single character in there worth any empathy at all - with the possible exception of the ever present and snarling dogs. When people are that awful, it is truly hard to care about them!
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Somehow I managed to get to middle age without having read this "classic". Now I'm sorry I ever went back and wasted my time. Instead of a great romance, I found an absolute jerk who abused and battered every helpless creature he could find. Ugly people behaving badly, I'm so disappointed.
3 of 16 people found this review helpful
Michael Kitchen brings this timeless classic to life in a way that really lets you enjoy the intensity of the relationships between the characters. Your involvement in the story is total.
If you have to study this work as part of educational studies (unfortunately the way most of us encounter it) this recording is the way to make it stick in your head and thoroughly enjoy it.
Once you start listening to it make sure you have the rest of the day at your disposal as you won't want to stop!
15 of 17 people found this review helpful
Wuthering Heights is one of those classics I have always meant to read but never quite managed it, so decided download it instead. I loved the story and it was every bit as good as I had hoped it would be. What added to the experience was the beautiful storytelling by Michael Kitchen, making all the characters come to life and I felt without any dodgy Yorkshire accents!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I've been looking forward to re-reading this for a long time now. I remember feeling that I was missing out by the piecemeal reading of it in school almost twenty years ago, but it took me this long to get back to it. This time around I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the book from start to finish. It has been reviewed so many times that there is nothing new for me to add, but here is a summary of my thoughts nonetheless.
I've often seen Wuthering Heights categorised as a classic romance novel. Although it is certainly a classic, I'd rather describe it as an anti-romance novel. There is a happy ending, of sorts, which sees two people together in love but even this is perhaps more by pragmatic acceptance of their situation than real romance. As for the rest of the plot, the message is clearly that any hint of romantic attachment results in loss, pain, retribution, madness and death.
A key element to the plot is the class struggle and divide between the key characters, and it is the subjugation of Heathcliff as orphan adoptee which first sets events in motion that will destroy almost everyone and everything. The key characters are extremely unsympathetic, at least to a modern reader. They read as foolish, naive, vindictive, and self-absorbed. Set in an isolated corner of nineteenth-century England with the class structure of the time to create tensions though, the characters remain believable if not likeable.
If I had to make a criticism, it would be that the last few chapters (originally published as volume three of three) are a bit rushed, and ended up feeling like an attempt to tie up all of the loose ends as quickly as possible.
All in all though, a brilliant read, and one I will probably revisit again. Highly recommended to everyone and anyone!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I am enjoying this! Michael Kitchen reads this extremely well. It is not too dark and I found myself laughing at the black humour.
I too studied this for A level. I really didn't like it at the time and woke up after the exam in a cold sweat thinking, "Oh no, I've still got to read Wuthering Heights!". Kitchen makes this fun! Not too savage but capturing the story well.
Well worth it
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
I could never read this book, just could not get into it, so decided to download it after I saw that Michael Kitchen was the reader. I love his voice and that made me want to continue listening to the story and see how it would unfold. I couldn't wait to get back to it. I am glad that I have at last heard the unabridged story and can judge for myself whether it is a great love story or not.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Wuthering Heights again? Why?
Yes, Michael Kitchen brings this book to life, his intonation and diction are wonderful. The fact that he was the reader encouraged me to buy the audio book.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
It's a classic so there's no need to mess with anything. Hearing it read, rather than reading it myself, changed my attitude to the tragic romance! I had read it for my A level English Literature and got the whole romantic hero, rough diamond perception sad eh?
Which character – as performed by Michael Kitchen – was your favourite?
All of them!
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Changed my attitude about Cathy and Heathcliff as star-crossed lovers! But then I'm no longer a naive 17 year old English student at an all girl school!!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Everyone's heard of this story, but I thought it's about time I read it. What a good decision. Michael Kitchen,s narration is first class.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Most depressing story ever. Non of the characters had any redeeming features. I thought this was supposed to be an epic love story. I hated it.
I felt it was initially hard to get into but gets better I have enjoyed it!
Took me a long time to listen to it all but I loved every minute!