Tag Archives: I Am Heathcliff

Only Joseph by Sophie Hannah

Overview

Title: Only Joseph
Author: Sophie Hannah
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Crime
Dates read: 16th May 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: We usually refer to ‘the problem’ or ‘the issue’.

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Synopsis

She’s trying to find a new school for her troubled daughter. But when she comes across a conspiracy of murder and mayhem at a potential new place of education, things quickly spiral out of control.

Thoughts

Finishing off the I Am Heathcliff collection with this story worked surprisingly well. It took a modern take on Heathcliff’s stalkerish ways and also weaved in other themes of understanding, betrayal and appearances throughout the story.

The school setting made this an immediately relatable story. Alright, there was never a murder at my school (although there was an exorcism performed)… but the fact that a mother is searching for the best fit for her child and is constantly concerned that she’s not doing the right thing by her is touching. Not to mention a little frightening. I don’t have children, but now the idea of trusting my potential future children to possible murderers, and definitely people who don’t have the same concerns… it kind of gave me goosebumps…

 <- Heathcliff Is Not My Name ReviewI Am Heathcliff Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Heathcliff Is Not My Name by Michael Stewart

Overview

Title: Heathcliff Is Not My Name
Author: Michael Stewart
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Retellings
Dates read: 16th May 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: You hear a fox scream and an owl cry.

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Synopsis

A great, and different point of view to the story of Heathcliff and his unhealthy obsession with Cathy.

Thoughts

This is a bit of a ranty, ravy type of story. Just one block of text that recounts Heathcliff’s impressions of Cathy and her family as he grew up. That makes his tale a little more tragic. A little more relatable. Even if I still think he’s a douche.

There is a certain divorcing from the name Heathcliff throughout this story. A sense that the story we all know isn’t really the true story. That there is so much more beneath the layer of the tale. So much more to Heathcliff than such an overwhelming douche.

Alright, so this story might have made me soften a little towards Heathcliff. It gave him a little more personality and reason for his emotions than any other retelling of Wuthering Heights I’ve read so far. But it only made me soften, not completely thaw towards the capital douche.

 <- The Wildflowers ReviewOnly Joseph Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

The Wildflowers by Dorothy Koomson

Overview

Title: The Wildflowers
Author: Dorothy Koomson
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Romance
Dates read: 6th May 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: This time my body remembers how to move and takes a step back and lets in the woman holding a very large knife.

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Synopsis

She’s being taken at knifepoint by the love of her life’s mother. A series of flashbacks and ruminations will let her finally understand all that happened ten years ago. And what’s about to happen now with a modern day Heathcliff.

Thoughts

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this short story. Most of the stories in this collection have been really interesting and engaging. But not the type of story that I would generally consider “enjoyable”. Which meant that I was incredibly surprised when I enjoyed this so much. There was just a level of sweetness and romance to it that the rest of the short stories in this collection quite frankly don’t have.

I love the idea of a past love that was left, for a variety of reasons in this case. But, the sweet revenge and poetic justice of the grandfather’s “Heathcliff” revenge worked brilliantly. The complete turn around and the way in which a really horrible family was forced to (maybe) attempt to become better people worked brilliantly. And now I’m kind of sad that it’s over.

 <- How Things Disappear ReviewHeathcliff Is Not My Name Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

How Things Disappear by Anna James

Overview

Title: How Things Disappear
Author: Anna James
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary
Dates read: 27th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: By the time the answer was written, the rib was back, and she assumed she had been mistaken that it ever went away.

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Synopsis

When did you realise that you were slowly disappearing? When did part of you return? How do you make your heart beat in an empty chest again?

Thoughts

I’ve always believed that in almost every meaningful interaction we have with people, we give them a small part of ourselves. That, if they are able, they in turn give something back to us. But what happens when the people we surround ourselves with just take, take, take? What happens when parts of you begin to disappear as people refuse to return your gifts?

This story is incredibly disjointed, it hints at everything, but tells you nothing. And I think that this visceral reality that you just can’t quite grasp works perfectly. That maybe it’s the idea of giving and taking in turn that is really what indicates love. That maybe, just maybe, we are all slowly disappearing until we find someone to help us put ourselves back together again.

 <- Amulet and Feathers ReviewThe Wildflowers Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

I Am Heathcliff curated by Kate Mosse

Overview

Title: I Am Heathcliff
Author: Kate Mosse, Louise Doughty, Grace McCleen, Nikesh Shukla, Erin Kelly, Joanna Cannon, Laurie Penny, Lisa McInerney, Juno Dawson, Hanan al-Shaykh, Alison Case, Louisa Young, Leila Aboulela, Anna James, Dorothy Koomson, Michael Stewart & Sophie Hannah
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
Bookshelves: Contemporary, Short story collections, Twisted romance
Dates read: 18th February – 16th May 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Any sound Ellis made was nurtured, grown somehow by the floorboards and the leaded-glass windows, until even the sound of her own breathing seemed to be carried away down the landing, and passed around from room to room.

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Synopsis

16 modern fiction superstars shine a startling light on the romance and pain of the infamous literary pair Heathcliff and Cathy.
Short stories to stir the heart and awaken vital conversation about love.

Sixteen stories inspired by Wuthering Heights.

In Terminus a young woman hides in an empty Brighton hotel; in Thicker Than Blood a man sits in a hot tub stalking his newly-married love on social media; and in A Bird Half-Eaten an amateur boxer prepares for a match.

A woman recalls the Heathcliffs I Have Known and the physical danger she has borne at their hands; in Anima a child and a fox are unified in one startling moment of violence; and in One Letter Different two teenagers walk the moors and face up to their respective buried secrets.

Curated by Kate Mosse and commissioned for Emily Brontë’s bicentenary year in 2018, these fresh, modern stories pulse with the raw beauty and pain of love and are as timely as they are illuminating.

Thoughts

I did enjoy this collection, but not as much as I had hoped. Probably because I bought this before reading Wuthering Heights. Which I then hated. So although this collection went a long way towards helping me to understand just why people love the classic so much. I still didn’t really love the obsessive, twisted romance that really features throughout all of these. The darkness that is completely overwhelming and more than a little difficult to understand.

Taking an incredibly rich classic, one that has stood the tests of time and creating different storylines and modern perspectives on it is an impressive feat. Collecting all of these stories together in one great collection was thoroughly enjoyable. It definitely gave me a whole new perspective on the classic. And made me want to give it a go for a second time… maybe in a year or two when I’m a little more mellow, and less likely to hate on Heathcliff and Cathy so passionately…

 <- Only Joseph ReviewTerminus Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Amulet and Feathers by Leila Aboulela

Overview

Title: Amulet and Feathers
Author: Leila Aboulela
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Family, Middle East
Dates read: 26th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: He asked me to set a sum for my bride-price.

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Synopsis

She’s on a journey to avenge her father’s death. But sometimes the ways in which you get revenge aren’t quite what they seem…

Thoughts

I’m really not sure why this is in a collection of stories based on Wuthering Heights. It’s a great short story, don’t get me wrong, but I’m struggling to make that connection to the gothic classic that I’ve been able to make with most of the other stories in this series. Amulet and Feathers had a great sense of dignity and an incredibly fun storyline to it.

I like the idea of a young woman setting out to avenge her father’s death. The ghostly visitations in her dreams and her determination to right a wrong are admirable. But, it’s the message about revenge and vengeance that is delivered at the end that is what I love the most. It’s both sweet and poignant, sad and happy. A great short story that made me have faith in the I Am Heathcliff collection again.

 <- Heathcliffs I Have Known ReviewHow Things Disappear Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Heathcliffs I Have Known by Louisa Young

Overview

Title: Heathcliffs I Have Known
Author: Louisa Young
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Twisted romance
Dates read: 17th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “Get off.”

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Synopsis

Who are the Heathcliffs have you known? Are your relationships about love? Or is it something far more sinister?

Thoughts

This made me so damn uncomfortable that I just wanted to put the whole book down. Multiple times. Possibly set it on fire. And the reason that it made me so uncomfortable? It wasn’t fantasy. It wasn’t some far off time. It wasn’t something that I couldn’t quite conceive of. It was about men who take a twisted view on romance and attack us. It is something that happens to everyone. At any time. And it is so damn uncomfortable that I honestly don’t have the words for it. Disgustingly uncomfortable is the closest I can come.

What I hated most about Wuthering Heights was the fact that it is often considered a romance. And some of Heathcliffs actions (if not all) are excused because he was “in love”. Which is bullshit. Complete, total and utter bullshit. And apparently Young agrees with this. After making you squirm more and more and more as you read about the different “Heathcliffs” that have been known, you come to her take on Wuthering Heights. And it is exactly how I felt, making this a not so uncomfortable ending to a story that I don’t think I necessarily want to read again.

 <- The Cord ReviewAmulet and Feathers Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

The Cord by Alison Case

Overview

Title: The Cord
Author: Alison Case
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Retellings
Dates read: 10th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: You are me and I am you, she would say.

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Synopsis

Heathcliff can feel the cord tying him to Cathy, but when she decides that she wants to marry another man, he realises that it might just be time to cut the cord for good.

Thoughts

I still don’t like Wuthering Heights, but this short story did help me feel a little sympathy for Heathcliff. Or at least, sympathy for him when he was first hurt. There is no excuse for the actions of later… but I digress, this is about The Cord, not the entirety of Wuthering Heights.

I like the idea of being tied to another being by an invisible cord. To be honest, it’s kind of how I feel about my own partner, that there is something extra that ties us together. To be fair, my cord is one of romance, and this one is kind of sick and twisted. But it is a great piece of symbolism. The cord that ties two people together, but what happens when one person is tied more tightly than the other? What happens when one person decides to ignore it and move on to other things in their life? How can you break such a tie to a living being? Well, in this tale Heathcliff is just determined to find out.

 <- My Eye Is a Button On Your Dress ReviewHeathcliffs I Have Known Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

My Eye Is A Button On Your Dress by Hanan al-Shaykh

Overview

Title: My Eye Is A Button On Your Dress
Author: Hanan al-Shaykh
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Twisted romance
Dates read: 1st April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.

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Synopsis

She’s received a letter from a man she hasn’t seen for years. One that she thought was lost to her forever. But, when she returns to her home for a happily ever after, she realises that not everything is as it seems…

Thoughts

I actually thought that this story was going to have a happy ending. Completely expected it, and actually looked forward to it. And then all of my hopes came crashing down at the end. It was actually kind of a sinister ending and one that left the story open to many, many possibilities. It was just… uncomfortable and really quite dark.

I haven’t really read any stories that feature Arabic culture and are written by people from this part of the world. It’s something that just hasn’t shown up on my radar, and I haven’t really gone searching for it either. So it was kind of nice and interesting to read a story set in this reality. Especially when it is in a collection based upon an English classic. A great way to show how universal themes can be carried across a variety of cultural realities.

Although this story deals with a culture and worldly view that I don’t understand at all, it was still completely relatable. This short story took the same themes that I am familiar with and bought them into a different world, sweeping me along with them.

 <- Kit ReviewThe Cord Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

Kit by Juno Dawson

Overview

Title: Kit
Author: Juno Dawson
In: I Am Heathcliff (Kate Mosse)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Twisted romance
Dates read: 29th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Borough Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: I went to speak to my hairdresser, and said I wanted a radical change, something a bit rock chick, but nothing needy.

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Synopsis

Catherine thinks she’s found the man of her dreams… but he just doesn’t seem to notice her. So she decides to become Kit.

Thoughts

I really wasn’t expecting to like this story so much. After all, I’ve found all of the stories in the I Am Heathcliff collection so far powerful and fascinating… but not what I would call enjoyable. They’re all pretty twisted and convoluted…but this one wasn’t really. Alright, it was still what I would consider twisted romance, because it wasn’t really anything romantic or healthy at all. But it didn’t leave me feeling both ill and confused. It just left me smiling in a slightly bemused sort of way.

This story might feature an adult woman, but for me, it was very reminiscent of some of my teenage friends. Those girls that developed a crush on a guy and then proceeded to change everything about themselves to make him like them. It never worked, just like in this short story, but it was such a recurrent theme throughout our lives that reading this story was almost nostalgic in a way. Especially considering the fact that this didn’t lead to horror and prolonged torture, in the last moments Kit herself realises her stupidity and starts to move on.

 <- Five Stages, Five Sites ReviewMy Eye is a Button On Your Dress Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers