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Windward Heights

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  213 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Prizewinning writer Maryse Condé reimagines Emily Brontë's passionate novel as a tale of obsessive love between the "African" Razyé and Cathy, the mulatto daughter of the man who takes Razyé in and raises him, but whose treatment goads him into rebellious flight. Retaining the emotional power of the original, Condé shows the Caribbean society in the wake of emancipation. ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Press (first published August 1st 1999)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Windward Heights is a retelling of Wuthering Heights, set in the Caribbean just after the abolition of slavery in the late 19th and early 20th century. In Maryse Condé’s hands the classic gothic tragedy becomes more politically charged, taking in decades of turbulent history and social change in Guadeloupe, Cuba and surrounding islands.

While there has been much debate over Heathcliff’s ethnicity in Emily Brontë’s original novel, here Condé replaces subtext with explication. Her Cathy is mixe
3.5 rounded up

I was quite pleased when I stumbled on this retelling of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I had read Maryse Conde while in college and enjoyed the richness of her writing and the many layered meanings I was able to pull from her stories. Here she has refashioned this classic story into one that not only deals with the cost of revenge but the generational curse of slavery and racism.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Windward Heights (translated from French) by Guadeloupean author Maryse Condé is a retelling of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It feels wrong even calling it a retelling because Condé truly made this her own.
If Wuthering Heights was a dried fruit pit left in the cold to decay and wither, Windward Heights is the first bite of a ripe mango on a blistering day.

I truly felt transported every time I picked up this novel. Windward is set in the Caribbean in 19th century shortly after the aboliti
Update: January 23, 2019.

Emily Brontë wrote of violent, obsessive passion mired in the classism, sexism, xenophobia, and addiction in an English village backwater, contained in a favoured servant’s tongue. The slip to a tenant’s mean, self-involved mental energy served as no boon, no invigorative jolt to proceedings. If Wuthering Heights is the wind’s dull roar Windward Heights is the source.

In an inversion of this ordered system–the original and the retelling–Condé saw the dark moor and formed
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, fiction
I think I may have found my new favourite genre; postcolonial literature. This retelling of Wuthering Heights is set against the backdrop of mainly Guadeloupe and Cuba, and themes of race and class are so explicitly prevalent in the novel that it only added to the suffering that Rayzé (Heathcliff) had been subject to and added fuel to the revenge he wanted to inflict. And what revenge it was - not to mention the accidental consequences that his and Cathy's love would cause in generations to come ...more
Daniel Gamboa
Aug 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I thought I would love this book, but I remained somewhat disappointed after I finished it. If you're thirsty for Guadeloupean literature, Windward Heights is a novel that will quench it. I wanted to read a book rich in French Caribbean culture, and, in that sense, Windward Heights was a satisfying read.

Windward Heights is a Caribbean retelling of Wuthering Heights. However, while the novel is rich in Guadeloupean culture and history, the main plot offers no surprises if you're familiar with Em
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A lyrical retelling of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I reread Wuthering Heights before I began it, which has made it fun to compare. It has the same general storyline but author Maryse Conde inserts her own themes of economic and racial disparities to the original novel's doomed love tragedy.

Like all of Conde's books that I have read so far, this is set in the Caribbean (on the islands of Guadeloupe and Cuba, in this case) and translated from the French. One more note- I am listening to thi
Ben Snow
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: university
An interesting, sexual, dark, in some ways dirty and elegant read that was both engaging, confusing, long, and perhaps a bit painful. I admit, I much prefer Windward Heights to that of its boring british counterpart for which it is almost a parody of, Wuthering Heights. The story is interesting, enticing and commentates on the Carribean, racism, discrimination, slavery, religion and stereotypes, and it does so almost effortlessly. I would recommend it to anyone interested in African American Lit ...more
Jenn McCollum Avery
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
The description of food alone is worth the read. Conde does a fabulous job describing the setting as she shifts Bronte's cold-climate classic to a hotter one, not sacrificing any of the character development along the way. ...more
Melanie Williams
This is a five star for me - Maryse Conde grabs 'Wuthering Heights' by its teeth, wrestles with it and reworks it admirably into a Caribbean context. If you have read 'Wuthering Heights' (Emily Bronte) and 'Wide Sargasso Sea' ( Jean Rhys), then this novel should be next on your list.... There are multiple narrators, but I was never less than enthralled. I loved the naming of the characters and the writer expands the number of characters to include a wider range of voices and perspectives. The pl ...more
Audrey H.  (audreyapproved)
I struggled getting through this. It's a retelling of Wuthering Heights set in Guadeloupe with the added themes of colonialism and race. The main storyline is familiar - but Conde really takes the story further with LOTs of 1st person narrated chapters from various characters. Too many characters. Maybe twenty perspectives total? It's a lot to keep track of, especially when one character will show up to tell their POV, and then never show up again as a character. I think Conde is trying to pull ...more
Ann Tonks
I only discovered Ms Conde this year via her amazing book Segu and this is another masterpiece to add to the list. It's based on Wuthering Heights but it takes it one step further, to explore racism and the impact of colonisation on relationships. It's a stunning exploration of Guadelope, Ms Conde's country of origin, in the late 19th/early 20th century. it's rich in imagery, imagination and story telling. ...more
John Gamble
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I chose this version of WUTHERING HEIGHTS because of the "code" way Heathcliff's heritage it written. He is described as a Gypsy, dark, dirty. All racist descriptions to describe people of African descent. A very eye opening exp that covers, in brief, the slave trade route i the West Indies. MARVELOUS! I love Maryse Conde's writing.
some mushroom dude
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
so excellent ! the decision to imagine multiple voices, all short of nothing when it comes to the power to haunt, against the isolation of wuthering heights is perhaps the most generative, wonderful inclusion
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Didn’t get enough of the passion between Rayze and Cathy that was in the original Wuthering Heights. Unfortunately, that’s what I loved the most and sorely missed in this retelling set in Guadeloupe. Much of it was very abrupt - especially the ending.
Meriam lahlou
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written with some reminders of the harsh history of the Caribbean islands. A novel full of love, hatred, violence and poverty. Some parts can be hard to stomach.
Megan Dust
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
I just had a really hard time getting through this, didn't make it more than 40 pages. No discredit to the book I just think it wasn't my thing. ...more
Stephanie Jane
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits ...more
Allison Romain-Dika
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Maryse Conde gives Wuthering Heights depth and meaning that I never knew it was lacking. When I read the original by Emily Bronte I was so engrossed. I loved that having a single narrative kept me constantly engaged. However, it is because Conde writes her retelling in the exact opposite way as this - with many different narratives from all classes of character - that I enjoyed this version even more.

Windward Heights becomes three dimensional as the reader discovers each character's perspective
Sharon Wagner
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Windward Heights is as exotic as a ripe papaya, and as tortured as the original: Wuthering Heights.
On one hand, I didn't gravitate to Wuthering Heights, so these characters struck me as being just as dysfunctional and insufferable as Emily Brontë's. On the other, there was beautiful language in this novel, so I can respect it as a literary work. So, basically, my rating goes between "meh" and "yeah, I did like it." ...more
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A must read! Wonderful book! Absolutely love Maryse Conde!
Arnold Ward
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written with very interesting characters and situations. Could not put it down.
Ericka Joseph
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Goodreads Librari...: Could you please combine those books? 3 12 Jun 01, 2020 07:50PM  

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Maryse Condé is a Guadeloupean, French language author of historical fiction, best known for her novel Segu. Maryse Condé was born as Maryse Boucolon at Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, the youngest of eight children. In 1953, her parents sent her to study at Lycée Fénelon and Sorbonne in Paris, where she majored in English. In 1959, she married Mamadou Condé, an Guinean actor. After graduating, she ta ...more

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