We have a Heathcliff problem. We fantasize on the regular about a brooding hulk smoldering just out of view. He’s there- he’s part of the nature of the area, and we are going to conquer that nature. We are going to nurture the brutish man. We are going to fix him, and he’s going to rescue us.
Except, we know the truth. We are going to ruin ourselves trying to capture him, and it isn’t going to change him in the slightest.
Our narrator in Heathcliff Redux is lost in the romance of Wuthering Heights. She is so lost she pursues Cliff despite his reputation. She knows how the book ends. She’s seen the movie. She is locked into her own inhospitable country manor and she’s going to throw everything into the wind and hope that Cliff catches some of it despite knowing the underlying reality. We are Cassandra; we know what is going to happen but no one is going to believe us until it is far too late.
I seek out the melancholy. I like an abrupt change of pace and an unrequited ending. Luckily, this collection is full of oddly beautiful misery. It’s a quick read; it clocks in at just over 200 pages but those pages are padded- the structure of the Heathcliff novella reminds me a bit of Lincoln in the Bardo; lots of outside sources and TONS of open space. What it lacks in quantity it overflows with quality; stories beyond Heathcliff will take you to Capri, plunge you into Greek mythology, and send you into the Rajneeshee cult. You can crush this in an afternoon, then spend the next few days swooning about the moors looking for your lost Heathcliff.