I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.
The Turn of the Screw is an absolute classic that I had almost completely forgotten about until recently. I've likely read it ten times over the years, but I had completely forgotten how much of an impact it can have until I recently found a copy and decided to give it another go. Assuming you can get past the dated language and just let the unnerving setting and characters slip into your mind and tell their story, you will be affected by it – the disturbing performers drifting about the eerie scenery... rattling around inside your imagination. (If that’s something you believe you’re inclined to enjoy.)
Basically the story is about a young governess who either heroically attempts to protect her two young charges at Bly house from malevolent spirits or slides horribly into a dangerous level of insanity. She begins to see apparitions of the former governess and another dead servant Quint, and becomes convinced that the orphaned brother and sister in her care can see them as well... and further, are being hunted by the ghosts.
It is never made clear by the author if the haunting is actually taking place, or if madness is simply claiming the unnamed governess (who happens to be our narrator). The author leaves any tangible, solid truth ambiguous. Questions are most certainly asked, but not answered.
I personally adore that style of storytelling. The ambiguity works. Granted, it is always aided by a creepy setting, with creepier children. It makes the story more compelling and more psychologically effective.
This Henry James masterpiece is most definitely worth the read.
- Dennis Sharpe
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