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The Turn of the Screw (American Classics Edition) Paperback – January 16, 2020
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- Publisher : Independently published (January 16, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 125 pages
- ISBN-10 : 166167285X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1661672850
- Item Weight : 5.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.32 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #24,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Shameful. Pay for editors, for crying out loud.
Many of the wonderful writers of this period can pull me into their story and take me on a wonderful journey. Not Turn of the Screw. I kept having to unravel the governess' sentences and could not get into the story. Horror? If any, it was in the main character's imagination, certainly not passed on to me. I kept wanting something to happen for 80% of the story, and I was sick of the governess' constant mental micro speculations.
If I had submitted writing like this in my college literature classes, I would have gotten an F for over-run sentences, rambling, unclear references. At least the fairly short story was free. This was a 30 page story expanded to over three times the length it should have been. I do not understand why any serious literary critics even bother trying to interpret this. I wonder if James wrote it as a joke on his contemporaries. He never discussed what he was saying in this story, he left it up to the reader to interpret everything for themselves, and stayed mysteriously silent on any intpretations.
The story covered the retelling of a localized haunting that was related to a small group of avid listeners from someone that was told this tale first hand by the character it supposedly happened to. Already, there is a distancing of the reader from the story.
Reading the way people spoke back then took a lot of getting used to. People didn't get to the point, make a lot of sense, and used a lot of innuendo to move the story along. What would now be seeing as a desperate need for editing, was then viewed as good writing. Long, winding sentences, sometimes paragraphs long, led to glossy eyed reading for much of this, especially in the beginning.
The subject matter had some good material to work with, but modern day readers are too sensible to accept this at face value. We are so numb to intense hauntings and movies, that the scare value on this book wouldn't even register a blip on any scare meter scale.
But if we remember how long ago this book was written, it sets a decent stage for those that were to come later.
The only really bad part was the choppy manner of haunted sightings, and the blunt ending attached to it.
Stories back then ended abruptly, as did this one, leaving the reader to wonder what was the reason to write it at all.
For a Sunday afternoon read and stroll down memory lane, I give it a 3. Not the greatest but definitely not the worst, either.
Top reviews from other countries
Who doesn't like a great ghost story? Well this is one of those. A governess has to take charge of two children but she starts seeing apparitions, which eventually result in tragedy. At the same time she goes about learning who these apparitions are. Sounds interesting? It is, and a great piece of escapism. You can read this tale just like that, but you also begin to notice that things may not be as they seem, there are definitely things going on just under the surface.
This is in many ways quite ambiguous as is there really a haunting, or is this just the imagination of a woman who may be hysterical or comes up with some fantasy to hide other things? Over the years many have taken on the challenge to come up with a definitive answer, and no one has, simply because there isn’t one. James left us with a great tale and something that will make you think. Many have tried since then to write something as good, as well as this being filmed many times. The simple truth though is that no one has come close, let alone excelled the Master himself. This really is one of the greatest supernatural tales ever written.
The story follows an unnamed narrator who is hired as the governess in a place called Bly. There, she will care for the two children placed under her employer's care, Flora and Miles. As soon as she meets these children, she is struck by their angelic beauty, and becomes desperate to protect them. This is made more complex when the narrator begins to see things that... shouldn't really be there. Ghost-like figures begin following her around Bly, and the narrator is certain that they want to take the children from her.
It's a gothic novella, and, as a result, contains many aspects of the traditional horror story. Bly is the haunted house that derives from Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, and the supposed innocence of the children reflects that of the women in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Yet there is a lot more to this story than first meets the eye. As the story goes on, the narrator begins to suspect that the children are purposefully going after the ghosts, almost as if they want to join them in the hellish afterlife that Henry James describes.
The brilliance of this story lies in the fact that it becomes impossible to determine whether the narrator is slowly losing their mind, or whether there really are ghosts flitting through Bly. In a highly-confusing, yet, with reflection, extremely powerful ending, this ambiguity is cemented. This is one of those stories where you can never really tell what the truth was, and there's a certain appeal as to thinking about it, and trying to discern the truth from a book that only ever seems to offer questions.
It's quite an intense read, but was the perfect choice for Halloween; there's a certain appeal to reading about ghosts from the past as the rain hits the windows outside and children dress up as ghouls and monsters. It's also a classic, so, whilst I found the writing truly beautiful, it may not be for everyone, particularly as some of the sentence structures were enormously confusing. Personally, I'm really glad that I chose to read The Turn of the Screw. It really is a book that will make you think, and maybe even shiver.
James writes in a deliberately florid style which contributes to the ambiguity necessary to the plot.
As much psychological mystery thriller as ghost story, James’s best known work deserves its place in the pantheon of greats. As the accompanying essay details, it is part of a collection of similar short stories exploring the ambivalence of perception and human experience which relate as much to brother William’s field.
It is also a cleverly constructed narrative in which use of person and perspective create doubt and the space within which the reader’s imagination can race and attempt to construct the truth from the uncertainty.
I appreciate classics take you on a different reading experience but this was just painful. I didn't even read anything this boring in my english literature class. Wasn't even sure what he was talking about half the time