Saturday, August 26, 2017

Six top novels with a strong evocation of atmosphere

Kate Hamer is the author of The Girl in the Red Coat and The Doll Funeral. "When settings are really successful in a novel," she argues, "they mean we can experience it as a complete world." One of her six favorite stories that pull it off, as shared at LitHub:
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

No list about books with a spooky sense of place would be complete without Bronte’s windswept, haunting novel (Wuthering is a local word meaning wild, exposed, storm-blown). The Yorkshire moors have become so linked with the Brontes and in particular this strange, passionate and singular book that it’s hard to imagine a time pre-existing the novel when you visit the place. Charlotte Bronte interestingly used terms embedded in the landscape to describe her sister’s book: “Wuthering Heights stands colossal, dark and frowning, half statue, half-rock. Over much there broods “a horror of great darkness” in its storm-heated and electrical atmosphere we seem at times to breathe lightning.” The Gothic motifs of wildness, ghostly appearances and ramshackle dwellings are all in order but somehow the power of the novel and the incredible nature of those places and landscape mean that it never falls beyond anything that seems completely real.
Read about another entry on the list.

Wuthering Heights appears on Siri Hustvedt's six favorite books list, Tom Easton's top ten list of fictional "houses which themselves seem to have a personality which affects the story," Melissa Harrison's list of the ten top depictions of British rain, Meredith Borders's list of ten of the scariest gothic romances, Ed Sikov's list of eight top books that got slammed by critics, Amelia Schonbek's top five list of approachable must-read classics, Molly Schoemann-McCann's top five list of the lamest girlfriends in fiction, Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the worst wingmen in literature, Na'ima B. Robert's top ten list of Romeo and Juliet stories, Jimmy So's list of fifteen notable film adaptations of literary classics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best thunderstorms in literature, ten of the worst nightmares in literature and ten of the best foundlings in literature, Valerie Martin's list of novels about doomed marriages, Susan Cheever's list of the five best books about obsession, and Melissa Katsoulis' top 25 list of book to film adaptations. It is one of John Inverdale's six best books and Sheila Hancock's six best books.

The Page 99 Test: Wuthering Heights.

--Marshal Zeringue