Cover image for Windward heights
Windward heights
Condé, Maryse.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Migration des coeurs. English
Publication Information:
New York : Soho, [1999?]
Physical Description:
348 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
"First published in this translation in 1998 by Faber & Faber Limited"--T.p. verso.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Prizewinning writer Maryse Conde reimagines Emily Bronte's passionate novel as a tale of obsessive love between the "African" Rayze and Cathy, the mulatto daughter of the man who takes Rayze in and raises him, but whose treatment goads him into rebellious flight. Retaining the emotional power of the original, Conde shows us Caribbean society in the wake of emancipation.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Set in the Caribbean amidst the societal and political turbulence at the turn of the nineteenth century, this fascinating story is a retelling, with some substantial reworking of plot and characters, of Emily Bronte's classic, Wuthering Heights. It is the steamy, sometimes sordid, recounting of the passionate love between Razye, the dark-skinned, dark-tempered foundling, and Cathy, the beautiful and high-spirited mulatto. As in Bronte's classic, the story unfolds through the narratives of various characters, allowing a many-faceted view of circumstances, characters, and events, and highlighting the intensity of the complex interrelated issues involving family, politics, race, religion, and class. Conde's portrayal of characters is universally somewhat unflattering. Razyeis mean, perverse, and obsessed. Cathy, spurning her passion for Razye, marries into Creole society and dies very young during the birth of her daughter. Her death only heightens Razye's obsession, however, and the drama is played out in future generations. Conde's rich prose, translated from French, does justice to the complexity of the story and makes this book difficult to put down. --Grace Fill

Publisher's Weekly Review

A professor of French Caribbean literature at Columbia University and a prize-winning author whose novels (including I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem and Segu) draw upon African and Caribbean history, Cond‚ sets her latest offeringÄa complex reworking of Emily Bront‰'s Wuthering HeightsÄat the turn of the last century, a period of socialist organizing and social unrest in the Caribbean. The novel opens in Cuba, shortly after the death of the revolutionary Jos‚ Mart¡. Razy‚, a young man who, as a foundling, was named for the razy‚, or heath, on which he was discovered in Guadeloupe, has decided to return there and exact revenge from Aymeric de Linsseuil, the rich Creole who married Razy‚'s beloved Catherine Gagneur, the daughter of the man who raised Razy‚. He achieves vengeance by marrying Aymeric's youngest sister, Irmine, but only after impregnating Catherine, who dies giving birth to their daughter, Cathy. Razy‚ lives on, trying to learn the arts of Santeria so that he can resurrect Catherine, and becoming wealthy. He passes on his hatred of Aymeric to his first-born, the so-called Razy‚ II. Cathy and Razy‚ II meet and fall in love, but the scars left by one generation are borne by the next, and they cannot achieve happiness. Describing a social and political moment far more complex than Bront‰'s, Cond‚ introduces a host of first-person narrations by servants, fishwives and hired hands, which are the most winning passages in the novel. Because Cond‚ clearly knows how to weave a large and beautiful tapestry and has done so in earlier books, it's hard to say why she chose the corset of Bront‰'s novel. A much larger, more satisfying novel seems ready to break free from this one. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Caribbean novelist Conde's intricate retelling of Emily Bront‰'s Wuthering Heights recasts the tragic classic of obsession and revenge in the steamy geography of Guadeloupe and Cuba. This is a story about poverty, religion, irreligion, and deep racial tensionsÄamong blacks, whites, mulattos, and everybody else. Orphan Rayze, named for the heath on which he was found as a young boy, is taken in by mulatto landholder Hubert Gagneur; forms an intense friendship with Gagneur's young daughter, Cathy; is shunned by Gagneur's son and heir, Justin; flees to Cuba; and then returns to Guadeloupe to find Cathy wed to the light-skinned Aymeric de Linsseuil. All of this is just the set-up for a story of desperate love and revenge with repercussions in the next generation, that cause trouble for Cathy's daughter and Rayze's son. Multiple narrators intertwine to create a mesmerizing, vivid tale. A deft reinterpretation of a classic; highly recommended.ÄJanet Ingraham Dwyer, Columbus, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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