Sunday, July 5, 2009

Book Review: The Heights by Brian James

Henry and Catherine have been inseperable ever since the day Mr. Earnshaw brought him to live with them at age 5. When Mr. Earnshaw dies suddenly, Catherine's brother Hindley, always jealous of Henry growining up, inherits and makes Henry's life hell. As Hindley works to sever Henry's relationship with Catherine, the violent rage Henry has harbored since childhood begins to bubble to the surface...

It should surprise no one familiar with WUTHERING HEIGHTS that this is a heavy novel about obsessive love and revenge or that it ends in tragedy. Even though I never agreed with Henry or Catherine's point of view (the story is told in alternating voice between the two), enough insight was given into their characters that I could completely see where they were coming from. Less clear in their motivations were Hindley (who is portrayed as a vindictive, racist beast without a single redeeming quality) and most of the rest of the characters especially Edgar and Isabelle Linton, neighbors and classmates who pursue Catherine and Henry romantically (why?!).

The atmosphere and foreboding is well done, and I liked modern San Francisco as a stand in for the windswept moors - especially this passage:

"Everyone always says San Francisco is so romantic...they only say that because they don't hear the song this city really sings. It's the sound of something beautiful dying...the last breath of an angel before the ocean swallows her...before an earthquake breaks it off from the rest of the world and drowns it. The romance is there but it isn't what they think. Really it's the romance of saying good-bye forever." (p 197-198 ARC version, may not reflect final text).

THE HEIGHTS is available in hardcover now.

9 comments:

thekoolaidmom said...

I recently read Wuthering Heights and really enjoyed it. How does The Heights compare? Now see... if they really wanted to modernize it, they would've made Hindley and Henry fall in love and have Catherine be the vindictive beast with no redeeming qualities... hehehe. And it's set in SanFran ;-)

LOL... I've been awake too long working on the computer. :-p

Nymeth said...

Even though I didn't like Wuthering Heights back when I read it, I like the idea of a modern version a lot.

Marie said...

Is this the same author as Zombie Blondes?!

Lenore said...

Koolaidmom Thanks for the laugh! Your version would be very interesting. It has been so long since I read WH, but I remember it being very melodramatic. This one is less so.

Marie That is right! Same author. I have Zombie Blondes and hope to get to it too one of these days.

Zibilee said...

I am thinking this sounds a lot like a movie that was made a few years ago. I might be wrong though. It has a lot of the same plot elements that you highlighted in your review, and was even set in the same place. I will have to go check that out and get back to you on it. The movie sort of catered to a late teen audience.

Staci said...

This sounds like a great book and one that interests me for sure!! Now I'm going to have read Wuthering Heights!!

robin_titan said...

I really like the cover and the story really sounds interesting. Love that passage. :)

Anna said...

Ooh, I'll have to read this one at some point. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Joanne said...

This sounds really good, I liked Wuthering Heights and I'm a sucker for tragic endings.