Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Catherine by April Lindner

Let me begin by saying that Wuthering Heights  has never been one of my favorite books.  I think it was always just too dark and a little messed up for me.  Even in high school when we are all supposed to be so moody and deep it was too much for me.  I always felt like there were some very strange relationships in the book, especially with Catherine and her brother Hindley.  It could also be the persistent desire for revenge throughout the novel that grated on me.  Whatever it was, I could never say I enjoyed reading it.
That said, I just finished reading Catherine by April Lindner, the author of Jane, another book I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed.  Like Jane , Catherine  is a modern retelling of a classic book, in this case Wuthering Heights .  This novel is told through two perspectives, Catherine's and her daughter Chelsea's, separated by two decades.  Honestly I did not expect to enjoy this book and had initially passed it by with no intention of reading it.  I'm so glad that I changed my mind.  While the themes remain consistent with the original, the updating of the situations make it a fun read.  Catherine falls in love with Hence (Heathcliff) and her brother Quentin (Hindley) hates him and blames him for taking away his father's love.  Catherine and Hence fight and split up.  She later marries someone else and has a daughter. Chelsea (Cathy).  Chelsea grows up believing her mother died, but sets out to find the truth.  This leads her to Hence where she discovers her mother's diary and learns so much about Catherine as a young woman. 
Reading a novel while knowing how it ends is an interesting experience.  In this case, I found myself still hoping it would turn out differently.  I kept wishing for the happy ending that was so elusive in my high school English class.  I commend Ms. Lindner for staying so true to the original story. A lesser writer might be tempted to change the events or add more salacious details and she resisted that.  I am hoping that Ms. Lindner will continue to write either more classic retellings or her own stories. 
So how do you feel about the classics being retooled?

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